The stunning D’Entrecasteaux and Huon waterways are a vital part of the beauty, vitality, economy and health of Tasmania’s southern region. Supporting more recreational fishers and boaters than any other in Tasmania, these waterways are prized for their recreational and commercial opportunities – and with thriving commercial operators and growing residential development, it is critical that the area’s natural values are managed effectively.
Launched in 2013, the D’Entrecasteaux and Huon Collaboration is a locally-initiated, innovative partnership (supported by the Derwent Estuary Program, Huon Aquaculture, Huon Valley and Kingborough Councils, NRM South, Tassal and TasWater) that aims to improve the diversity and condition of our natural values with cooperative and coordinated natural resource management. Each organisation has technical expertise, knowledge, information and networks that can assist each other and achieve greater outcomes by working together. The Collaboration demonstrates that we value and rely on having a healthy waterway, we understand and are committed to responding to the sensitivities of the waterway and that we want to work with other relevant stakeholders to maintain a healthy waterway.
Origin of the DHC
The Region and Environment
The 400km coastline of the waterway catchment is contained within the municipalities of Kingborough (including Bruny Island) and Huon Valley Councils. The catchment area is dominated by vegetation that includes buttongrass moorland, alpine complexes, eucalypt forests, rainforest pockets, wet scrub, open dry forests, grasslands, and tall wet forests with shrubby understorey. It also includes forestry, aquaculture, grazing, orchards, mining and urban landscapes.
Most agricultural land in the catchment occurs within a few kilometres of the coast, or follows the major rivers and smaller rivulets. Less than 10% of the catchment is classified as urban or industrial, and these areas are most concentrated around the waterway. Tourism and the aquaculture industry, in particular, have undergone a rapid expansion over the past twenty years.
Balancing the environmental and economic returns of such a valuable resource is an ongoing exercise for the local community. While this dialogue has ebbed and flowed over the decades, there is a consistent undercurrent of value for the waterway. This is why the Collaboration exists: to facilitate a focus on the common concern of maintaining a healthy waterway that can meet our social demands for a beautiful environmental and a viable local economy.
For more information on the features of this region, please refer to DHC’s ‘Our Waterway’ website.
What We Do
Information gathered as part of project-based research and industry-based monitoring has provided a wealth of knowledge about the waterway. The Collaboration has used this information to develop clear messages about waterway condition, focusing on water quality, sediment health, pollution types and sources, swimming and seafood safety, coastal and marine habitats, and climate.
This information forms the basis of a comprehensive ‘State of the Waterway’ assessment (carried out every five years), as well as a regular ‘Waterway Report Card’ – along with other resource documents. Refer to the RESOURCES menu on the left for a full list of available documents.
In 2016 the Collaboration organised the first ‘ Our Waterway’ conference on Southern Tasmania’s principal waterways which covered topics including waterway condition, biodiversity and marine protection, marine mammals and coastal hazards. The most recent conference was held in 2019 and attracted over 90 attendees.
Marine debris, and the threat it poses to waterway health, wildlife and the economy – is a growing problem. From 2015-2019, the Collaboration coordinated marine debris clean-up events across multiple sites in the Huon Estuary and D’Entrecasteaux Channel. In this time over 60 cubic metres of debris was removed from the waterway and surrounding coasts. These events involved the participation of dozens of volunteers – including schools, Landcare and conservation groups, as well as industry representatives.
How can you help?
Keeping the channel clean
Keep an eye on the NRM South’s social media pages or sign up to our newsletter to stay in the loop.
If you want to help in other ways you can:
- Participate in other Clean Up events around the waterway
- Report marine debris for clean-up.
Monitoring programs cannot replace the value of local eyes and ears which are around the waterway every day. Important knowledge about our waterway is held in experiences of long-term locals. The Collaboration is looking at ways to better account for local experience. Options being considered include:
- Encouraging locals to report sightings so that the Collaboration is aware of these experiences
- Developing an on-line community library of knowledge about the waterway
- Developing photographic monitoring opportunities