The Woolgoolga Lake Working Group is just one of the grant recipients.
The Woolgoolga Lake Working Group is just one of the grant recipients.

On the lookout for heavy metals in our waterways

JUST under $347,000 is to be shared by 17 local community organisations in the latest distribution of Council's Environmental Levy funding.

The levy invites applications from community-based organisations and individuals interested in helping to improve or sustain our local environment.

Under the program, grants worth between $2,000 and $25,000 are available per project.

Council introduced the Environmental Levy (EL) as a means of encouraging local residents and organisations to undertake environmental management and improvement works. The levy currently raises around $1.3 million a year at an average cost of $44 per ratepayer, of which approximately $300,000 is available to community groups.

"This year saw yet another diverse range of projects put forward by groups that are passionate about their work," said Coffs Harbour Mayor Councillor Denise Knight.


Some of the successful projects:

Coffs Harbour and District Local Aboriginal Lands Council - Improving Our Coast. This project aims to rehabilitate 15 hectares of coastal vegetation within Moonee Beach Nature Reserve and Coffs Coast Regional Park. The project will enhance Endangered Ecological Communities' Littoral rainforest, Themeda headland grasslands and threatened species. Awarded a grant of $25,000.

Koala sniffing canines will be used in one of the projects.
Koala sniffing canines will be used in one of the projects.

Jaliigirr Biodiversity Alliance - Canine Scent Detectives Promoting Koala Population Health in Jaliigirr Corridors. The project will collect koala activity data activity, in an area known to support an important but fragmented koala population, by undertaking scat detection surveys using trained koala scent detection dogs. It will focus on locating and recording activity of koala individuals and collect and store fresh scat material where possible for future genetic analysis. The target area for this study will focus on the linkage corridors in the Sawtell, Toormina and Boambee East area. Awarded a grant of $25,000.

Southern Cross University - Heavy Metal Deposition in Estuaries Downstream of Intensive Horticulture Activity. This project will conduct heavy metal analyses in current and historical sediments in several coastal wetlands to isolate the source of heavy metals potentially entering the estuaries. The research will look at in-depth sediment chemistry analyses including sediment dating to investigate possible heavy metal contamination from the early 1900s to the present. The areas selected for sampling will include estuaries in both long-established intensive horticulture operations on former banana and more recent blueberry plantation sites, as well as areas with little agricultural activity for comparative purposes. Awarded a grant of $24,000.

Woolgoolga Lake Working Group - Caring for Our Waterways. This project will monitor water quality on the Woolgoolga Lake waterways using a scientifically rigorous approach to identify priority areas for management action. The Working Group aims to engage, collaborate, and educate the broader community on the impact they may have on their environment. Field research will include the involvement of Woolgoolga High School class groups where applicable. The Working Group will support any recovery actions that may be needed to ensure the health and continuation of endangered and threatened species in the ecosystem of Woolgoolga Lake. Awarded a grant of $8,694.