Coral Johnson and Grant Phelan at the A-rated site
The groundwater spring south of Rainbow Beach surf club has received an A rating, as well as three other sites within QPWS managed land. Turbidity levels are below guideline levels at this beachside groundwater spring.
Although groundwater, the water quality is similar to or better than the local tannin-stained freshwaters, and the temperature is less variable than other surface water sites.
Other sites of High Ecological Value (HEV), including two sites at Seary’s Creek and the Patterned Fens, have not been graded due to these sites being HEV, the water cannot deviate from the reference guideline values.
As this reference guideline was only produced in 2016, report cards are unavailable, as all HEV sites would receive an “A” grade.
All sites are measured against Queensland Water Quality Objectives (WQO’s) found in the Queensland Water Quality Guidelines 2009, developed by the Environmental Policy and Planning Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) with specific reference to Noosa tannin-stained freshwater scheduled guidelines, given the unique nature of coastal waters.
Rainbow Beach’s stormwater sites however, do not fare so well with all three sites receiving a B rating. This includes the GPT site on Clarkson Drive, Kurana Street/Dulkara Court and wetlands of Karoonda Drive.
In the modern era, stormwater need not be treated as a nuisance to move off site as soon as possible. By replicating features of natural wetlands, stormwater sites could be greatly improved in both water quality and weed management.
Generally all freshwater and HEV freshwater sites show good compliance with turbidity and pH guidelines.
High variability in pH can indicate eutrophication causing algae and weed growth.
Coastcare’s Waterwatch program continues for a fourth year in 2017 and volunteers and schools are welcome to participate.