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Bringing Hexham Swamp back to life
It wasn’t the CMA’s office Christmas party that brought the biggest cheer in December, but the opening of two additional floodgates on Ironbark Creek, which will hopefully see bigger and better serves of Christmas prawns in years to come.
Many community members have contributed to the long-running campaign to rehabilitate Hexham Swamp, and some of them came along on the day to share their thoughts on the achievement of this latest milestone. Local prawner and fisherman Geoff Hyde claimed it was the best thing to happen to the Hunter River in 70 odd years, while Ann Lindsay, from the Hunter Bird Observers Club, was also excited at the future prospect of renewed saltmarsh for migratory waders and local shorebirds.
Since the first gate was opened in December 2008 extensive monitoring has been continually undertaken to identify effects on water quality, mosquito numbers and inundation of surrounding areas. The results of the monitoring conducted in the first half of 2009 found some marginal and predictable increases in the salinity and dissolved oxygen of the water in the creek behind the floodgates but the impacts on surrounding areas were negligible. The CMA will continue monitoring througout 2010 and, if all goes well, hopes to gain approval to proceed to stage three of the project.
For more information on the Hexham Swamp Rehabilitation Project contact the CMA’s Amanda Hyde on 02 4930 1030.