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Gold Coast natural environment

We have one of Australia's most biodiverse cities. Let's explore, celebrate and work together to protect it for the future.

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Lakes and canals

Robina Lakes Aerial

The numerous lakes and more than 400 kilometres of constructed canals on the Gold Coast form an environmentally significant network of waterways.

Lakes and canals are vibrant living waterways which react to changes in the environment. Natural events that affect the climate, weather and tides, as well as human impacts such as nutrients, pollutants and recreational use, can impact the health of waterways.

Environmental management

Keeping these waterways in good condition also assists their vitally important role as buffers against flooding, helping to reduce the impacts of major floods on surrounding and downstream areas. The volume of stormwater received is directly related to increases in water levels and any major flooding.

Lakes and canals retain and treat stormwater. This includes run off from roads, gardens and roofs which is often untreated. For this reason, the City limits interference with the natural ecosystem and does not remove reeds or other fringing vegetation.

Canals maintenance

Canals are just one of a number of water accesses and the City of Gold Coast has a program to maintain these throughout the city.

City of Gold Coast conducts some cleaning and maintenance of lakes and canals to ensure that water flows are not blocked and that these aquatic environments are preserved. The objective of maintenance activities is to reduce such things as human impacts, i.e. litter, pest species such as Salvinia, and to maintain infrastructure.

Maintenance involves the removal of problem vegetation and dredging on canal banks to restore desired profiles.

If you have any queries regarding your canal area, please call 07 5667 5974.

State government responsibilities and our waterways

The City shares the responsibility of looking after our natural waterways with State Government departments:

Who's who in the blue?

Gold Coast Waterways Authority (GCWA) have created a useful guide, Who's who in the blue?, that lists which authority to contact to report a variety of concerns about our waterways.

A link to this guide can be found on GCWA's home page.

Safety in lakes and canals

Residents are reminded that the City only recommends swimming in patrolled beaches, dedicated swimming enclosures and public swimming pools. Other recreational activities involving significant body contact with water should also take place close to patrolled areas.

Further information regarding lakes and canals can be obtained by contacting the City on 1300 GOLDCOAST
(1300 465 326) or 07 5582 8211.

Photo of a jellyfish swimming

Dangerous aquatic organisms on the Gold Coast

The Gold Coast's beautiful lakes, rivers and canals are some of our city's greatest assets. They enhance our lifestyle, provide great views and are a playground for fishing, paddling, sailing and boating.

They are also home to a variety of plants, animals and microorganisms so it's important to know that some of these are potentially dangerous. These include stingrays, jellyfish, catfish, stonefish, sharks, algae and other microorganisms they can be found in marine, brackish and freshwater environments. This includes our lakes and canals.

Anyone who enjoys recreational activities in the water should act safely and responsibly, and needs to be aware of potentially dangerous species. Learn more about dangerous aquatic organisms.

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