Healthy water environments

Our environment, prosperity, and unique lifestyle depend on healthy water environments. Our waterways, wetlands and coastal shores support thriving habitats for native species, provide recreation, and reduce impacts from flooding and storms. We source our household water from dams fed by local waterways. Many rural properties access groundwater for their needs.

You can take action to protect and maintain the health of our water environments.

Prevent water pollution

Water pollution can impact our waterways, wetlands, coastal waters and even groundwater.

  • Chemicals including oils, paints, solvents, herbicides and pesticides can cause fish kills and impact animal and human health.
  • Garden waste can cause infestations of environmental weeds.
  • Detergents, animal droppings and grass clippings increase nutrient levels which cause outbreaks of blue-green algae.
  • Litter and waste harms and kills wildlife. It can also potentially release other chemical pollutants over time.
  • Soil, sand, and sediment washed from building sites and bare ground can smother seagrasses and other aquatic plants and animals.

Every time it rains, pollutants wash into the stormwater drains and discharge into our creeks, rivers, canals, and ocean. To prevent this:

  • Avoid using herbicides and pesticides where possible.
  • Use environmentally friendly fertilisers on gardens and lawns.
  • Put animal droppings in the bin.
  • Don’t litter and dispose of all waste, including chemicals and hazardous wastes appropriately.
  • Manage garden waste – either compost it or take it to your nearest recycling centre. You can also order an optional green organics bin.
  • Use absorbent materials to clean up chemical, oil and fuel spills.
  • Wash your car and other equipment on the lawn, not the driveway.
  • Regularly check and maintain septic and wastewater treatment systems.
  • Use mulch and/or grow native ground covers to keep exposed soil in your garden to a minimum.
  • Install appropriate sediment and erosion devices when conducting earthworks.

If you have a boat:

  • Avoid releasing contaminated bilge water into the waterways.
  • Use onshore toilets or onboard toilets that have a sewerage treatment system and can be pumped out at a facility.
  • Make sure your boat maintenance is carried out at approved marinas and with businesses that have environmentally sustainable practices.

Reduce stormwater runoff

In a natural bushland setting, only 10% of rainwater enters our waterways. Most water is captured in the soils or used by plants that transpire into the atmosphere. In urban areas, hard surfaces such as roofs, roads, pathways, and driveways cause a greater flow of water into our waterways, increasing flood risk and eroding riverbanks.

You can reduce the amount of stormwater that runs off your property.

  • Plant vegetation, especially local native plants
  • Use porous landscaping materials such as gravel and permeable pavers
  • Keep steep slopes to a minimum
  • Build a rain garden

Protect riparian environments

Riparian vegetation occurs along the banks of rivers and streams. Property owners and boaties can protect riparian environments.

  • Erect fences around riparian areas to prevent stock access. Stock graze on, and trample riparian vegetation which decreases bank stability and increase erosion
  • Restore riparian areas by planting appropriate native species
  • Control weeds
  • Monitor signs of vandalism and tree removal
  • Reduce speed to minimise boat wash along the foreshore

If you are interested in restoring a riparian area on your property, visit landholder support programs.

Prevent impacts to water life

Our waterways, wetlands and coastal shores support a diversity of native animal species. Dolphins, turtles and even the occasional dugong live in our coastal waterways. Many of the islands, beaches and sandbanks in the Broadwater are refuges for shorebirds.

  • Stay clear of fish nurseries and wetland areas. Breeding areas are common where the land meets the ocean and in the Broadwater.
  • While boating, keep a look out for animals in the water. Reduce speed if you see them.
  • Don’t disturb shorebirds. They feed near the water, but they cannot swim. The shore is the only place they can feed and rest.
  • Keep dogs away from habitats and wildlife, especially shorebirds. Dogs are prohibited within South Stradbroke Island Conservation Park.

Prevent aquatic pests & weeds

Aquatic pests and weeds can:

  • introduce parasites and diseases
  • harm aquatic environments
  • decrease native fish pollutions.

Prevent the spread of aquatic pests and weeds.

  • Don’t use pest fish as live bait
  • Never dispose of aquarium animals and plants within our natural waterways
  • Never introduce sport fish such as carp and tilapia
  • Do not release exotic species back into a waterway when fishing
  • Keep aquarium collections in secure ponds which can’t overflow into waterways, and consider purchasing native fish over exotic species

In Queensland it is illegal to:

  • release noxious or non-native fish into our natural waterways
  • to keep, breed, sell or knowingly harbour any pest animal including red-eared slider turtles.

To learn more visit Biosecurity Queensland.

Report pest fish

Pest fish species that occur on the Gold Coast include:

  • tilapia
  • carp
  • climbing perch
  • Gambusia or mosquitofish
  • Chinese weatherfish

To learn more visit Identifying invasive freshwater animals.

You can report sightings to the Queensland Government by: