State of the beaches 2017-18: Hunter region · PDF file Hunter region by Hunter Water...

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  • OFFICE OF ENVIRONMENT & HERITAGE

    State of the beaches 2017-2018 Hunter region

    www.environment.nsw.gov.au/beachwatch

    Beachwatch

    www.environment.nsw.gov.au/koalas

  • © 2018 State of NSW and Office of Environment and Heritage

    With the exception of photographs, the State of NSW and Office of Environment and Heritage are pleased to allow this material to be reproduced in whole or in part for educational and non-commercial use, provided the meaning is unchanged and its source, publisher and authorship are acknowledged. Specific permission is required for the reproduction of photographs.

    The Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) has compiled this report in good faith, exercising all due care and attention. No representation is made about the accuracy, completeness or suitability of the information in this publication for any particular purpose. OEH shall not be liable for any damage which may occur to any person or organisation taking action or not on the basis of this publication. Readers should seek appropriate advice when applying the information to their specific needs.

    All content in this publication is owned by OEH and is protected by Crown Copyright, unless credited otherwise. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0), subject to the exemptions contained in the licence. The legal code for the licence is available at Creative Commons.

    OEH asserts the right to be attributed as author of the original material in the following manner: © State of New South Wales and Office of Environment and Heritage 2018.

    Cover image: Caves Beach. Photo credit: Beachwatch/OEH.

    Published by:

    Office of Environment and Heritage 59 Goulburn Street, Sydney NSW 2000 PO Box A290, Sydney South NSW 1232 Phone: +61 2 9995 5000 (switchboard) Phone: 131 555 (environment information and publications requests) Phone: 1300 361 967 (national parks, general environmental enquiries, and publications requests) Fax: +61 2 9995 5999 TTY users: phone 133 677, then ask for 131 555 Speak and listen users: phone 1300 555 727, then ask for 131 555 Email: [email protected] Website: www.environment.nsw.gov.au

    Report pollution and environmental incidents

    Environment Line: 131 555 (NSW only) or [email protected]nvironment.nsw.gov.au

    See also www.environment.nsw.gov.au

    ISBN 978-1-925754-14-8 OEH 2018/0380 October 2018

    Find out more about your environment at:

    www.environment.nsw.gov.au

    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/deed.en http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/deed.en http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode mailto:[email protected] http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/ mailto:[email protected] http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/

  • iii

    Contents

    Hunter region summary 2017–2018 1

    Beach monitoring in NSW 1

    Rainfall impacts 1

    Port Stephens Council 5

    Overall results 5

    Management 7

    Zenith Beach 9

    Box Beach 10

    Fingal Beach 11

    One Mile Beach 12

    Birubi Beach 13

    Little Beach 14

    Dutchmans Beach 15

    Bagnalls Beach 16

    Georges Reserve 17

    Lemon Tree Passage Tidal Pool 18

    Karuah Tidal Pool 19

    Newcastle City Council 20

    Overall results 20

    Management 21

    South Stockton Beach 24

    Nobbys Beach 25

    Newcastle Beach 26

    Bar Beach 27

    Merewether Beach 28

    Burwood North Beach 29

    Burwood South Beach 30

    Lake Macquarie City Council 31

    Overall results 31

    Management 33

    Glenrock Lagoon Beach 36

  • iv

    Dudley Beach 37

    Redhead Beach 38

    Blacksmiths Beach 39

    Swansea Heads Little Beach 40

    Caves Beach 41

    Catherine Hill Bay 42

    Speers Point Park 43

    Eleebana (Lions Park) 44

    Croudace Bay 45

    Belmont 46

    Swansea 47

    Cams Wharf 48

    Sunshine 49

    Balcolyn 50

    Wangi Point (Van Park) 51

    Arcadia Vale 52

    Kilaben Bay 53

    Toronto 54

    Bolton Point 55

    How to read this report 56

    Beach Suitability Grades 56

    Explanation of tables 61

    Explanation of graphs, charts, and information bars on beach pages 62

    References 65

  • v

    Recreational water quality has been monitored in the Hunter region since 1996 by Hunter Water Corporation as a requirement of Environment Protection Licences, and by Port Stephens Council and Lake Macquarie City Council under the Office of Environment and Heritage’s Beachwatch Partnership Program. This report summarises the performance of 38 swimming sites in the Hunter region of New South Wales, providing a long-term assessment of how suitable a site is for swimming. Monitored sites include ocean beaches, estuarine areas in Port Stephens and designated swimming sites in Lake Macquarie.

    In 2017–2018, 84% of swimming sites in the Hunter region were graded as Good or Very Good. These sites were suitable for swimming for most or almost all of the time. This is a good result, and is an improvement in performance from the previous year. The Hunter region has a large proportion of lake/lagoon and estuarine swimming locations in its program, which have been most susceptible to impacts from wet weather conditions.

  • NSW State of the beaches 2017–2018

    1

    Hunter region summary

    2017–2018

    Beach monitoring in NSW

    The water quality of beaches and other swimming locations is monitored under the NSW Government’s Beachwatch programs to provide the community with accurate information on the cleanliness of the water and to enable individuals to make informed decisions about where and when to swim. Routine assessment also measures the impact of pollution sources, enables the effectiveness of stormwater and wastewater management practices to be assessed and highlights areas where further work is needed.

    Swimming sites in New South Wales are graded as Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor or Very Poor in accordance with the National Health and Medical Research Council’s 2008 Guidelines for Managing Risks in Recreational Waters. These Beach Suitability Grades provide a long-term assessment of how suitable a beach is for swimming. The grades are determined from the most recent 100 water quality results (two to four years’ worth of data depending on the sampling frequency) and a risk assessment of potential pollution sources.

    Recreational water quality has been monitored in the Hunter region by Hunter Water Corporation since 1996, Port Stephens Council since 2004 and Lake Macquarie City Council since 2010.

    A quality assurance program ensures that the information collected and reported by Beachwatch and its partners is accurate and reliable.

    Rainfall impacts

    Rainfall is the major driver of pollution to recreational waters, generating stormwater runoff and triggering discharges from the wastewater treatment and transport systems. Changes in rainfall patterns are reflected in beach water quality over time due to variation in the frequency and extent of stormwater and wastewater inputs.

    The Beach Suitability Grades for 2017–2018 are based on water quality data collected over the last two to four years. Rainfall over this period has been diverse, beginning in 2014 with a very wet year for the coast, followed by variable

    Burwood North Beach Photo: Beachwatch/OEH

    See the section on Quality assurance in the Statewide Summary for results of the quality assurance program.

    During 2017–2018, 38 swimming sites were monitored including ocean beaches, estuarine areas in Port Stephens and designated swimming sites in Lake Macquarie.

  • NSW State of the beaches 2017–2018

    2

    rainfall with significant storm events, then extended dry periods with isolated heavy rainfall:

    • 2014–2015: wet summer with above average rainfall, particularly on the coast

    • 2015–2016: wet summer, with well above average rainfall during January, including significant storm events causing heavy rain and flooding in coastal areas

    • 2016–2017: the wettest March on record for many coastal areas and intense storm activity over summer

    • 2017–2018: prolonged dry weather periods broken by heavy rainfall at times.

    Heavy rain fell on the Hunter coast during the first half of June 2017. Monthly rainfall totals were well-above the long- term average with Nelson Bay receiving 315mm, Nobbys Beach (Newcastle) 177mm and Swansea 210mm of rainfall for the month. Dry weather followed with mostly average to below-average rainfall experienced from July 2017 to April 2018.

    A prolonged dry period was experienced during July 2017 to September 2017 with monthly rainfall well below the long- term average. Nelson Bay had its lowest July rainfall since 1995.

    Several wet weather events occurred during the warmer months, notably in February and March 2018. Very heavy rain fell in late March 2018 with Nelson Bay and Nobbys Beach (Newcastle) recording daily rainfall totals of 86mm and 74mm respectively.

    Health risks

    Contamination of recreational waters with faecal material from animal and human sources can pose significant health problems to beach users owing to the presence of pathogens (disease-causing micro- organisms) in the faecal mat