The Noosa River Plan is still under consideration. Pic: GraemeParkes.
The Noosa River Plan is still under consideration. Pic: GraemeParkes.

'Culmination of years' of work to decide Noosa River Plan

AN UPDATED Noosa River Plan would come before the new council for consideration following the March 28 election as council officers work through more than 60 submissions.

Noosa Council environment and sustainable development director Kim Rawlings said further engagement is occurring with some of the submitters, particularly commercial operators.

"We received some quite detailed responses and we're currently reading through all of the responses and considering various changes to the draft Plan as a result," she said.

Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) announced before Christmas that it would increase its presence on the water, to better manage compliance issues.

"We certainly welcome MSQ's commitment, and now we need to ensure the draft Plan captures this commitment and that any refinements required as a result are incorporated," Ms Rawlings said.

"The draft Noosa River Plan is the culmination of many years' work and many rounds of community consultation.

"We have received some great feedback from the community, and we look forward to finalising this important plan for our magnificent river system in the near future," she said.

A key finding of the plan is that rural run-off is one of the major threats being addressed by the Keep It In Kin Kin program for erosion controls.

The report found thee Kin Kin sub-catchment is the largest area of modified landscape.

"In 2015, the Noosa Biosphere Reserve Foundation commissioned Noosa and District Landcare to undertake a LIDAR (light detection and ranging) study.

"The LIDAR imagery from 2008 to 2015 was compared to identify erosion hot spots most in need of intervention to keep soil on the land and out of waterways.

"The analysis revealed that up to 2.3 million tonnes of sediment was mobilised in this area over a seven-year period.

"Based on an average soil replacement cost of $30/tonne, the cost of this soil productivity loss exceeds $60 million."

The draft plan said "all the shire's residents have an environmental duty of care under the Environment Protection Act to ensure their land-based activities do not adversely affect environmental flows, water quality, riparian areas, wetlands and in-stream habitats.

"However there is a lack of a specialised advice and on-ground practical support in this area for rural landholders."

The latest draft plan clearly identifies the social, cultural and economic benefits derived from the Noosa River system and contains a risk-based assessment of threats to the environmental values and community benefits to further help prioritise actions.

Management of the Noosa River mouth and the Noosa Spit (Dog Beach) has been included, as has council's intended commercial fisheries reforms.

The draft said: "The benefits the community derives from the Noosa River system are underpinned by good water quality, healthy habitats and diverse and abundant aquatic life. "These benefits are of social, cultural and economic importance and contribute to our quality of life.