Introduction - Wetlands & Waterways Works ManualHealthy waterways and reliable supplies of good quality water are critical to Tasmania’s future. The State has extensive water resources, including approximately 150,000 kilometres of waterways and over 8,000 wetlands.
Waterways are natural depressions, consisting of a defined channel with a bed and banks, that carry perennial or intermittent flows of surface water for all or part of the year. Any land that adjoins, directly influences or is influenced by the water (ie riparian land) should be regarded as part of the waterway.
Wetlands are depressions in the landscape or areas of poor drainage that hold water derived from ground water and surface water runoff and support plants adapted to partial or full inundation. Wetlands are usually associated with standing water but they can be part of a waterway or an adjoining marsh or billabong. Wetlands are not always wet. Temporary wetlands may dry out on a seasonal or less regular basis.
Poorly planned and/or executed streamworks can lead to threatening processes that affect the ecological and physical health of a river. Governments, industry, farmers and community groups often undertake works in waterways and wetlands in Tasmania. State and local governments and industry lay pipelines and construct stream crossings. Farmers modify stream channels, and construct levees and drainage channels. Local councils and community groups clear debris and vegetation from streams and stream banks. All these activities can severely degrade the health of streams, threaten native plants and animals, risk local government structures (eg bridges and culverts) and services (eg drinking water supplies), and, rarely, endanger human life.
Waterways and wetlands are dynamic and complex systems. The effects of works in waterways and wetlands may extend a long way upstream and downstream and persist for a long time.
Inappropriate works achieve poor outcomes and can cause severe environmental harm that may be difficult and expensive to remediate.
The Waterways and Wetlands Works Manual provides guidelines on the environmental best practice principles that should be used when planning and undertaking works in waterways and wetlands. All of the guidelines should be used in conjunction with the appropriate technical advice and literature.
The Manual comprises eight guidelines
The focus of the Manual is on protecting Tasmania’s freshwater ecosystems. Some of the principles outlined may be appropriate for coastal and estuarine environments. However, the Manual has not been developed with these areas in mind. Expert advice should be sought before undertaking works in these areas.
The manual has been developed by the Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment and the Local Government Association of Tasmania with funding from the Natural Heritage Trust.
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