Dee Why Lagoon.

To: "Birding-aus" <>
Subject: Dee Why Lagoon.
From: "Bruce Cox" <>
Date: Fri, 12 Jan 2001 12:08:17 +1100
Hi all.

Over the years I have babbled on about  the birds I have seen at Dee Why
Lagoon on Sydney's Northern Beaches. Not no more however, except for a
solitary Latham's Snipe I have not seen a migratory wader there for about 5
years, even the ducks are deserting it, all you see now is a few shags,
seagulls, lapwings and white ibis.The cisticolas in the reeds are fast

Now it is official, there was an article in the "Manly Daily" plus an
editorial re. the lagoon, a couple of days ago. The N.S.W. Scientific
Committee has found [what birdos have known for years], the lagoon is very
sick. The article says"The N.S.W. Scientific Committee has just classified
the area as a endangered ecological area and made it a top conservation
priority on the State's threatened species list." The article goes on to
blame "urbanisation of the catchment area, building site sediment,
stormwater pollution from residential and commercial areas, weed invasion
and sewerage overflows" for the situation.

Warringah Council manages Dee Why, Curl Curl and possibly Narrabeen Lagoons
[which may be shared with Pittwater Council?], Warringah Council is broke
and there has been talk of bringing in an administrator,Peter Moxham, the
mayor said in the article "We are expending a great deal of money on all our
inland waterways and we always have a battle in front of us" It does not
sound too hopeful to me! Peter Moxham does not sound too hopeful!

There are 3 main easements discharging street water into the lagoon and its
catchment comprises 25% of Warringah Shire residential area, to my knowledge
one has a gross pollution trap with a bypass for heavy runoffs, the others I
suspect little or nothing. It appears to me that fine silt, oil and chemical
stuff from roads, industry and building sites, detergents and other
emulsifiers are the main problem, not the coarse stuff collected by gross
pollution traps.

I don't know the answer, 1]bypass the lagoon and send the gunk straight to
the ocean, costly and hardly a good ethical solution. 2] The community clean
up its act, ideal but extremely unlikely. 3]Better traps and filters,
probably the only option but I feel only partially effective particularly in
heavy discharge conditions. 4]Mechanically keep the lagoon entrance open to
the sea,[ it only opens naturally after storms] good for the birds etc. but
same problem as No.1

I am a pessimist [optimism is self disillusion, the worst almost always
happens]. I believe that little but band aids and placebos will result.

Sorry about the rant, but it is sad to see a place where you saw great birds
go down the gurgler.


Bruce Cox.
48 Rangers Retreat Rd. Frenchs Forest.
Sydney. 2086.  Australia.
Phone:--02 9451 5394.

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