Pittwater Life February 2017 Issue


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Council explains lagoon ‘big stink’

Northern Beaches Council

has moved to allay

user-group concerns about

a perceived increase in the

level of seagrass in Narrabeen


At the same time Council

says large blooms of algae

across some areas of the

catchment – caused by nutrients,

warm weather and

prolonged sunlight – will

disperse naturally with the

arrival of cooler weather.

Council’s executive

manager – Natural Manager

and Climate Change, Todd

Dickinson, said there were

no issues with seagrass.

“Seagrass comes and goes

according to environmental

conditions in the same way

your garden will respond,”

he said.

“What people may be

seeing is an increase in density…

potentially because

the entrance of the lagoon

was closed for a period – the

water level goes up when

the entrance closes. It’s like

putting the plug in the bath

– the water level increases,

which can make seagrass a

bit more invisible to people

because it’s further below

the surface.

“When the water level

drops it’s obviously closer to

the surface… and the fact is

it’s confined to the edges –

they are the shallower parts

and the warmer parts and

have more light and it’s not

surprising you would see it

more around the foreshore.”

Mr Dickinson said the putrid

smell around the lagoon

was the algae decomposing.

“It can break down in a

less pleasant way – it’s perfectly

natural and happens

up and down the coast,” he


Mr Dickinson said Council

was committed to a balanced

management of the delicate

Narrabeen Lagoon ecosystem

and would continue its communication

with locals.

“We try very hard to manage

the ecosystem, to keep

it relatively stable and try

not to damage it with the

intention of it being a very

pleasant environment for

everyone to use,” he said.

He said the issue of

dredging the mouth was

fundamentally around recreational


“When you strip it back it

is actually about people not

wanting to bog their boards

or their sailing craft in

some of the shallow areas –

but by and large the floor of

the lagoon is the same level

it was a decade ago.”

He added the navigation

markers installed around

the lagoon last year had

been well received.

“We put the navigation

markers in after quite a bit

of consultation – people are

excited about being able to

navigate the lagoon properly

now, without having to

worry about ploughing into

the shallower areas.”

– Nigel Wall

* New storage racks – P15



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