Stormwater education can improve Diamond Creek
A major challenge facing cities globally is how to manage stormwater. Stormwater pollution is an environmental challenge. With the expansion of urban landscapes, maintaining the ecological condition of waterways becomes increasingly difficult. Trace metals, pesticides, hydrocarbons and other pollutants all enter aquatic environments via stormwater runoff, and accumulate within local waterways and wetlands, leading to significant adverse impacts on the health and amenity of aquatic ecosystems. Protecting local waterways from toxicants such as these is critical in maintaining a healthy environment. Diamond Creek is home to a diverse biological community of fish, vertebrates, invertebrates and birds, and is a critical connection between the Yarra and the King Lake National Park at the top of the catchment. Stormwater education can improve Diamond Creek.
The aims of this project were to:
• Carry out a pollution assessment of Diamond Creek by assessing sediment quality both
upstream and downstream of the main outfall from the Bridge Rd industrial area in Eltham,
both before and after the education program.
• Deliver a Stormwater Education and Awareness campaign to business owners in between the
sediment sampling events
Results from the program indicate the stormwater education and awareness program likely had a significant impact on reducing levels of pollution being discharged from Karingal Yalloc Drain – the main stormwater drain connecting the industrial area with Diamond Creek. In general, the discussions we had with business owners and managers in the Bridge Rd industrial estate through the door-door campaign and the Smoko and Stormwater event was very positive, with only a minority of businesses not interested in engaging with us. The results from the sediment monitoring program indicate that the education and awareness program may have had a positive impact on reducing stormwater pollution, improving the health of Diamond Creek. In our experience, education programs can have strong short- to mid-term benefits, with followup programs strongly recommended to reinforce the positive results from this program. Annual education and awareness programs are recommended over the next 2-3 years, with biennial programs recommended going forward.
The results of the program are extremely positive from an ecological perspective. The reductions in sediment pollution in Diamond Creek below Karingal Yalloc drain is likely to result in a short term boost to local macroinvertebrate populations in the creek, leading to more food for other wildlife such as fish, birds and platypus, which if the low levels of pollution are maintained should result in population boosts to these important groups in the longer term. The next step is to ensure these reductions in pollution are maintained and further reduced through ongoing education and awareness programs and increased engagement with local business owners. While stormwater pollution is an environmental challenge, this project has shown that Stormwater education can improve Diamond Creek