Reducing Urban Nutrients and Pollution in Moreton Bay

Brisbane Catchments Network had its first workshop on Reducing Urban Nutrient Pollution in Moreton Bay at the Griffith University EcoCentre on Thursday 11 February 2016. This workshop brought together different communities of academics and stakeholders to discuss issues related to reducing urban nutrient pollution in Moreton Bay.

Workshop 1

The one-day forum had 35 attendees across research institutions, industry, government and community representatives:

Stakeholder Organisation
Academic and Research Institutions Griffith University
Healthy Waterways
SEQ Catchments
Industry Queensland Urban Utilities
Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd
Brisbane Airports Corporation
Government Brisbane City Council
Department of Environment and Heritage Protection
Community Bayside Creeks Catchment Group
Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee
Cubberla-Witton Catchments
Norman Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee
Northern Catchments Network
Oxley Creek Catchment Association
Save Our Waterways Now
Wolston and Centenary Catchments

The forum was funded by a Brisbane Airport Corporation Community Grant.  Speakers covered topics on urban nutrient pollution.  The forum was made up of three sessions, with the first one having presentations used to stimulate discussions for the second and third sessions.

Session 1:

These presentations identified the issues that were discussed in Sessions 2 and 3.

Notes from Session 2 and 3.

Next Steps:  Action Plan arising out of the Workshop. (PDF)

Workshop 2

Thursday 7th July 2016, EcoCentre – Griffith University

Presenters

Partha Susarla – Strategic Planning Manager, Unitywater

From Grey to Green Infrastructure

Partha is a Civil Engineer with post graduate qualifications in Environmental Engineering and an MBA. With 25 years’ experience in strategic planning and delivery of infrastructure projects in three countries (India, New Zealand and Australia), Partha has predominantly worked in Water Infrastructure project delivery, Total Water Cycle Management Planning and Strategic Planning. He is actively involved in the community through being a Board Member of SEQCMA and on the Working Committee COM SEQ for Catchment Action Plans. Currently Partha leads the strategic planning services in Unitywater to provide total water cycle planning, treatment services planning, capital investment and regional planning. He successfully negotiated with State Agencies for consolidating environmental licences for sewage treatment plants. Partha recently lead a team to prepare a long term treatment services strategy on providing treatment services for the Unitywater serviced regions up to 2051 and beyond (50 year long term strategy). The strategic plan outlay is valued at $1.3B over the implementation period. The strategy is called Treatment Services Strategy.

Andy Hornbuckle – Team Leader Asia Pacific – Water Quality, SPEL Environmental

Andy has expertise in Civil Engineering, Biosystems Engineering and Bioengineering and has been associated with SPEL since 2008.  His mission is to engender and maintain a culture of ingenuity within SPEL that continuously contributes to improving Australia’s water and waste water quality and compliance standards. Andy is deeply passionate about this industry, investing a lot of time into the strategy planning, research and funding of water quality improvement technology and water sensitive urban design measures.  This has been a journey of innovation and revitalisation, starting from the Stormceptor and Puraceptor systems for capture and removal of hydrocarbons, tertiary cartridge technology like the SPELFilter through to ecological systems including Modular and Floating Wetland systems.

The SPEL R&D team in conjunction with our academic research partners has initiated a series of 3 floating wetlands (Bribie Island, Park Lakes II and Fraser Island) field research and evaluation projects on SPEL products with a view to benefiting the industry and gathering environmental scientific data that is rigorous, transparent and independent.

 

Michael Linde – Senior Environment Advisor, Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd

Offsite Stormwater Treatment Pilot

Michael is an experienced Environmental Advisor with varied work experience with the Port Authority, as well as local government both in the UK and Queensland. His current role at Port of Brisbane involves environmental management at a growing port that highly values the environment involves a wide range of activities and responsibilities which means it’s always interesting.  A typical week can involve construction, dredging, reclamation, contaminated land, flora & fauna, water quality, air quality, sustainability, legislative compliance and ISO14001.

Sandra Avendano – Principal Policy Officer, Department of Environment and Heritage Protection

Erosion and Sediment Control and Program and Flexible options for Nutrient Management (Point Source)

Sandra has an extensive background in business and environmental management across research institutions, environmental consultants, private sector and State Government. She has over 14 years of experience in project planning and implementation to ensure adherence to strategic direction and environmental regulation; including roles in the Reef Compliance program addressing rural diffuse run-off, Best Management Practices programs for cane and grazing industries, waste and littering and illegal dumping programs, on-ground compliance on industrial sites in south east Queensland and coordination of partnerships to address erosion and sediment control at constructions sites.
Sandra is currently responsible for delivering the EHP’s SEQ Healthy Catchment Program; including the Erosion and Sediment Control and Stormwater Project, Horticultural and Grazing Best Management Practice Programs and Healthy Country Program in partnership with industry, Healthy Waterways and Catchments and other government departments. She is also responsible for EHP’s engagement with the Resilient River Initiative and providing water quality policy advice.

Cameron Jackson – Leader Water Quality and Environment, Queensland Urban Utilities

Sustainability:  Environmental Leadership via Nutrient Management

Cameron was Trade Waste Manager for Brisbane Water for 10 years before moving into environment and water quality management in 2010 with the formation of Queensland Urban Utilities (QUU). He now leads the water quality and environment team in QUU’s Strategic Planning group in which they have a primary goal to continually improve their environmental performance – particularly reducing impacts on waterways from QUU operations.

Dr Andrew Olds – Lecturer, Animal Ecology, University of Sunshine Coast

Marine Reserves, resilience and estuarine fishes in South-east Queensland

Dr Andrew Olds is an experienced marine ecologist with expertise in the fields of marine conservation, fisheries, spatial ecology and the impacts of global change on marine ecosystems. He has on-the-ground experience with conservation, fisheries and environmental management projects in tropical and subtropical estuaries and coastal waters, and has led multidisciplinary research teams in Australia and across the western Pacific. Andrew’s projects focus on three broad areas:

  1. Seascape ecology and connectivity
  2. Marine conservation planning and assessment
  3. Disturbance ecology and the functioning of coastal ecosystems.

Andrew is a researcher as part of the USC Research Futures Project (CRN) – Water Sciences.

Jock Mackenzie – Director, MangroveWatch

Impacts of nutrient loads on tidal wetlands – Monitoring & managing mangroves to maximise ecosystem services and resilience

Jock Mackenzie is Coordinator-Director and co-founder of MangroveWatch, based at TropWater, James Cook University, Townsville. Jock is currently completing his PhD on mangrove health assessment and has spent the past 10 years working in the field of mangrove ecology, examining the issues that impact these important habitats in Australia, India, Vietnam, Thailand and Solomon Islands. He’s passionate about working with local people to help protect their important mangrove resource. His broad research interests include mangrove ecosystem health assessment, saltmarsh ecology, tidal wetlands and blue carbon and tidal wetland ecosystem services.

Jennifer Loder – Director of Programs and Partnerships, Reef Check Australia

How reef citizen science can help to address water quality challenges in Moreton Bay

Jenn has been working on environmental science, community engagement and science communication for more than a decade. Her professional experience encompasses training volunteers to talk about everything from armadillos to zebras at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo; launching science communication strategies for the Miami Museum of Science; investigating effective approaches to conservation behaviour change for local marine issues in South Florida and developing and implementing marine citizen science programs in Australia. Jenn holds a Graduate Diploma in Marine Biology from James Cook University and a Masters of Science in Environmental Science from Florida International University. Inspired by her first Indo-Pacific experience in Palau, Jenn moved to Australia to pursue a career that unites science and education to protect our oceans and has been involved with Reef Check Australia since 2008. She has successfully implemented the RCA subtropical rocky reef monitoring program in South East Queensland; seen the expansion of monitoring coverage to more than 40 new reef sites; managed of more than $800,000 of project funds; developed citizen science training and data resources; expanded new partnership networks; and orchestrated the development of the REEFSearch concept to expand public participation opportunities.

MC

Mik Petter – President, Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee (B4C)

Mik is a transdisciplinary researcher specialising in spatial presentation and prioritisation of environmental and natural resource issues to support community and government action.  See also https://seqrapidmaps.wordpress.com/

Facilitators

Paul McDonald – General Manager Business Development and Innovation, Healthy Waterways and Catchments

Paul’s role at Healthy Waterways and Catchments is to create new business opportunities and partnerships, contribute to NRM policy and planning, and promote innovation in the NRM space. For more than 30 years Paul has worked with people from all walks for life – farmers, environmentalists, scientists, professionals, politicians and bureaucrats – to help care for our natural assets and the communities which rely on them. He was senior manager in the Queensland Government for 24 years, where he honed expertise in statutory and NRM planning and policy. Paul is a Licensed Surveyor, has post graduate qualifications in information systems and business, and is an adjunct associate professor with the University of the Sunshine Coast.

 

Dr Tony Pressland – Vice President, Cubberla Witton Catchment Network

Tony has been involved in catchment management and land care as a scientist, administrator and practitioner for over 3 decades.  He undertook ecological and rainfall runoff studies in the grazing lands of the Burdekin River catchment and mulga country, and helped establish integrated catchment management in southern Queensland catchments.  He managed regional and state programs during the NHT, and Water Quality and salinity funded periods, and was involved in the establishment and early development of the regional natural resource management program nationally.  More recently, Tony has been actively engaged in urban catchment management issues including water quality assessment in the inner western suburbs and has been President of the Cubberla Witton Catchments Network.  He is also an associate editor of The Rangeland Journal.

Workshop Material

Workshop Series 3

Theme – Community Priorities

Wednesday 10th May 2017, Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd Head Office

Workshop Agenda &  Presenter Notes

Grant Witheridge, Catchments & Creeks Pty Ltd 
Grant Witheridge is a Civil Engineer with both Bachelor and Masters degrees from the University of NSW.  He has some 35 years experience in the fields of hydraulics, creek engineering and erosion & sediment control during which time he has worked for the NSW Public Works Department, the University of NSW, Brisbane City Council and Griffith University.
Grant is the principal author of publications such as Brisbane City Council’s – Natural Channel Design Guidelines, Creek Erosion Guidelines, and Instream Sediment Control Guidelines, plus the National Guidelines on Fish Passage Requirements for Waterway Crossings.
Craig Wilson, Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd (PBPL) 

Craig Wilson is an environmental management professional with 20 years of experience in the maritime transport industry having worked at the Ports of Townsville, Port Hedland and now Brisbane. He holds a Bachelor Degree in Applied Science and a Masters Degree in Environmental and Business Management.

Throughout his career Craig has been exposed to a wide cross section of environmental management issues including the environmental impact assessment of significant port development projects, marine water quality impacts and impacts on marine flora and fauna from dredging and general port operations, air quality, noise and emissions impacts, contaminated site investigations and community and stakeholder engagement.

In response to a review of traditional onsite stormwater treatment practices, PBPL has successfully implemented an innovative scientifically-based and assessed offsite stormwater treatment project. The multi award winning project has defined best practice in stormwater management through the redistribution of onsite stormwater management investment to major sediment pollution sources in the wider catchment area. The rehabilitation of 1km of stream bank in Laidley Creek has not only resulted in significant reduction in sediment volume in the Brisbane River system but has delivered other secondary environmental, community and industry benefits. The recent flooding event as a result of ex-tropical cyclone Debbie demonstrated the success of the works, providing a clear proof of concept and confidence in pursuing offsite stormwater treatment as a viable solution moving forward.

Paul McDonald, Healthy Land and Water (Facilitator)

Paul’s role at Healthy Land & Water is to run the subsidiary companies (SEQC Services P/L and SEQC Offsets P/L), contribute to NRM policy and planning, and promote innovation in the NRM space.

For more than 30 years Paul has worked with people from all walks for life – farmers, environmentalists, scientists, professionals, politicians and bureaucrats – to help care for our natural assets and the communities which rely on them.

Paul was senior manager in the Queensland Government for 24 years, where he honed expertise in statutory and NRM planning and policy. He is a Licensed Surveyor, has post graduate qualifications in information systems and business, and is an adjunct associate professor with the University of the Sunshine Coast.

Cameron Jackson, Queensland Urban Utilities (QUU)

Cameron was Trade Waste Manager for Brisbane Water for 10 years before moving into environment and water quality management in 2010 with the formation of Queensland Urban Utilities (QUU).

He now leads the water quality and environment team in QUU’s Strategic Planning group in which they have a primary goal to continually improve QUU’s environmental performance – particularly reducing impacts on waterways from QUU operations.

Dr Simon Tannock, AlgaEnviro 

Dr Simon Tannock has a PhD in Environmental Engineering and a Master’s Degree in culturing microalgae.  He has blended this knowledge and passion for healthy water management and has co-founded AlgaEnviro, to create healthy water, reduce nutrient pollution, enhance aquaculture systems and manage Blue-Green algae and water weed problems.  With a nanotechnology product called Diatomix, Simon and Co-Founder Lily Kelly have developed a system for enhancing biomanipulation of ecosystems, to increase their resilience and improve health of the algae, zooplankton, insects, fish, birds, turtles, eels that live in these systems.

Urban Nutrient Pollution is a difficult problem to address because different areas and different seasons have different nutrient pollution levels. Solutions to the problem need to be flexible enough to fit into any environment and cost effective enough to be broadly applicable.

Enhancing a natural environment’s ability to absorb more of the polluting nutrients is a novel and natural method of addressing this issue.  Giving nature all the building blocks it requires to absorb these nutrients, to enhance food webs and increase the health of an ecosystem is the least intrusive and most cost-effective solution to addressing nutrient pollution.

Simon presented his story on “Diatomix”, the nanotechnology behind enhancing food web health, healthy water and reduction in nutrient pollution.

Rachael Williams, Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee (B4C)

Rachael has a Bachelor of Science in Australian Environmental Studies and post graduate studies in Environmental Compliance, with over 10 years experience in the Oil and Gas industry and Environmental and Landcare Catchment Groups.

Rachael presented on the Extended Water Quality Monitoring Project undertaken on the Bulimba Creek Catchment.  This community led water quality monitoring project aims to provide the scientific justification to fund on-ground projects to reduce urban nutrients and pollution from the Bulimba Creek and ultimately Moreton Bay.


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