The Maroochy River catchment, with a total area of 630km², is the third largest catchment in the Northern Catchments reporting zone. The river rises from the eastern slopes of the Blackall Range and flows east through Eumundi, before entering the sea at Cotton Tree. Most of the catchment has been cleared for agricultural or urban uses. There are three waste water treatment plants that discharge into the Maroochy River. Cooloolabin and Wappa Dams impound the water above the South Maroochy River.
The Maroochy River is a popular spot for swimming, fishing and jet skiing. The Sunshine Coast Council has spent $1.2million in recent times on implementing its master plan for the Maroochy River Foreshore with seating, undercover areas and car parks encouraging recreational activities along the river.
Healthy Waterways has monitored 10 sites on the Maroochy River Estuary on a monthly basis since 2000.
The Mooloolah River catchment with a total area of 223km², is the smallest catchment in the Northern Catchments reporting zone. The river rises from the eastern slopes of the Blackall Range and flows east-northeast, similar to the Maroochy River to the north. The mouth of the river is at southern Mooloolaba. The riparian vegetation is largely intact in the upper reaches, while the lower reaches have been altered with housing and canal estates.
There are no wastewater treatment plants that discharge to the Mooloolah River Estuary however the Ewen Maddock Dam drains into the Mooloolah River through Addlington Creek.
Healthy Waterways has monitored 7 sites on the Mooloolah River estuary since 2000.
The Noosa River catchment, with a total area of 854km², is the largest catchment in the Northern Catchments reporting zone. The Noosa River catchment is a relatively un-modified system with particularly high environmental, cultural heritage and scenic values. It is also a much sought after recreation, tourist, agriculture and fisheries resource, which makes a substantial contribution to the local Noosa economy.
The Noosa River enters the Pacific Ocean at Noosa, where substantial residential development has encroached into areas previously occupied by the changing river path. The river is noted for its populations of migratory birdlife. Land use within the catchment has a direct correlation to the ecosystem and waterways health with 61% being remnant vegetation, 33% rural and 6% urban development.
The existing conservation of the area rallied by the various conservation groups and council has titled Noosa as a success story in terms of town planning and ecological management.
Healthy Waterways has monitored 11 sites in the Noosa River Estuary on a monthly basis since 2000.
The Pumicestone Passage is a shallow enclosed waterway located between the mainland and Bribie Island. Tidal flushing of the southern passage from Deception Bay dominates the estuary and there is a net northern movement of water through the Passage. This shallow narrow water body provides a wide range of habitat types including salt marshes, mud flats, seagrass beds and extensive mangrove systems which support a wide range of plant and animal species including endangered species such as dugong, turtles and over 370 species of birds. The Pumicestone Passage has been recognised as an internationally significant wetland and is protected under the Ramsar Convention.
A growing region, the area has seen changed land use and management in recent years. The Sunshine Coast Council’s Pumicestone Passage and Catchment Action Plan 2013-2016 sites agriculture, sewage, forestry and urban development as the greatest impacts on the Passage.
Healthy Waterways has monitored 10 sites in the Pumicestone Passage on a monthly basis since 2000.