OPINION: Some key facts on the Myall River

DEAR News Of The Area,

I WRITE in response to the Col Nicholson letter in the last edition and in response to Thomas O’Keefe’s excellent article on the dredging of the Myall River.

I am able to speak with some authority, having been the chairperson of the Port Stephens and Great Lakes Estuary Management Committee, which initiated and received many reports on the health of Port Stephens and its many waterways. Presumption indicates a lack of knowledge or understanding.

Fact: Corrie Creek was first dredged in the late 1890s to allow boats to transport timber to Pindimar Bay.

It was a vital economic decision of the day (similar to the creation of the Panama Canal) and not because of sedimentation build up.

Fact: Whilst a bureaucrat stated “the health is equivalent to other compatible estuaries” and was a true observation at the time, therein lies the falsehood.

The river was naturally oceanic and was never meant to be estuarine.

Dr Scanes was appointed to conduct an investigation who concluded that the Myall river was losing its oceanic characteristics.

In Dr Scanes’ report, ‘Ecological Condition of the lower Myall River Estuary’, commissioned by GLC in 2010 the opening comments were “The authors wish to thank the Myall River Action Group and other members of the Tea Gardens and Hawks Nest community for raising the profile of the changes to the river entrance and thus providing the opportunity for this study.

“We are particularly grateful to Gordon Grainger for many interesting and fruitful discussions on the topic of the lower Myall River; and for his tireless efforts in collecting an outstanding set of data on the clarity.”

Tea Gardens.

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