On 23 September 2014 Tasmanian State Minister for the Environment Matthew Groom joined with the mayors of the councils that border on the Derwent estuary (Brighton, Clarence, Derwent Valley, Glenorchy, Hobart and Kingborough) and CEOs of our five business partners (Nyrstar Hobart Smelter, Norske Skog Paper, TasWater, the TasPorts and Hydro Tasmania) to sign the third Derwent Estuary Program (DEP) Partnership Agreement.
By renewing the agreement, partners agree a strategic and coordinated management approach across all levels of government, industry and the community remains our best prospect for a cleaner and healthier estuary in the future.
The first Derwent Estuary Program (DEP) Partnership Agreement was signed in 2001 and the second in 2009 and both included the implementation of an Environmental Management Plan.
Key areas for action include:
• Managing and reducing heavy metal contamination
• Preventing eutrophication
• Promoting water sensitive urban design
• Conserving iconic habitats and species
• Education and interpretation
Since 1999 more than $150 million has been spent towards environmental improvements and the Derwent is now showing promising signs of recovery. During the past decade, there have been substantial reductions in discharges of organic matter (greater than 90 percent), heavy metals (greater than 60 percent), and sewage-derived nutrients (10 – 20 percent), as well as improvements in stormwater treatment.
As the condition of the estuary improves, there is growing interest in conserving and enjoying the Derwent’s natural features. The DEP has led initiatives to increase the area of protected wetlands by 40 percent and to preserve iconic species such as the little penguin and the endangered spotted handfish.
More recently, the DEP has encouraged the enjoyment of the Derwent through the use of foreshore tracks by developing the Greater Hobart Trails website.