The experts' marks for the health of the Clarence River system.
The experts' marks for the health of the Clarence River system.

Clarence River gets a C+ score

SCORING a C+ on its first official health report card, the Clarence River and its tributaries could be better and could be worse, say the experts.

The report was released this week and is the result of an extensive 12 month study that collected data from 88 sites in 37 individual river systems in the Clarence catchment.

Using the combined resources of Clarence Valley Council, Office of Environment and Heritage, Local Land Services, Department of Primary Industries and the University of New England and with the assistance of bordering councils, the study provides a snapshot of the health of the Clarence River ecosystem and a benchmark to plan for the future.

Land Services North Coast team leader Tony Broderick said because of the size of the catchment area in the study, the focus on one rating was too simple and did not paint an accurate picture.

"There are numerous parts of the river that scored well ... a lot of places are in good condition and we want to keep them in good condition," Mr Broderick said.

"The Clarence has a far more complex catchment than many others, with major differences in climates and geology types."

He said the study demonstrated some areas were less resilient to land use change, while others had proved to be more adaptable.

Mr Broderick said the study was the best audit of the river system that had ever been undertaken.

"This will provide a great benchmark and, had we done a study of this type 10 years ago, I'm sure we would have picked up many changes; a lot of good things have happened over the last 10 years.

"This report will provide a baseline for future studies."

Fisheries NSW research scientist Dr Gavin Butler is based at the Department of Primary Industries in Trenayr and specialises in freshwater ecosystems.

He said while the overall C+ rating left room for improvement, it was comparable to other catchments in NSW.



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