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Flood response update for the Swan Canning Riverpark

Algal blooms in the Swan Canning Riverpark have reduced over the past week, however conditions continue to be favourable for algal activity.

Elevated Karenia­-type dinoflagellate in Melville Water presents a potential health risk to anyone consuming shellfish from the area. Department of Health advise the public not to eat wild shellfish from the Swan Canning Riverpark or other uncontrolled waters.

Karlodinium, a dinoflagellate with the potential to cause fill kills, is present at moderately high levels in the Swan River near Bayswater and in the Canning River near Riverton.

This species presents no direct human health concerns, however the public are reminded of Department of Health advice to avoid swimming in water that looks discoloured, murky or smells unpleasant.

Regular updates to the public are being be posted on the Department’s notifications and alerts webpage. Members of the public are encouraged to contact FishWatch on 1800 815 507 to report any dead or sluggish fish in the Swan Canning Riverpark.

Flood response update for the Swan Canning Riverpark

Heavy and widespread rainfall in the Avon catchment during February resulted in unusually high flows into the Swan Canning Riverpark. Below is an update from the Department of Parks and Wildlife on how we are responding to these conditions. Regular updates to the public are being be posted on the Department’s notifications and alerts webpage.

Incident Management Team

A flood response Incident Management Team has been regularly meeting since 6 February to coordinate Parks and Wildlife’s response to the flood events and in preparedness for any future incidents that may emerge such as algal bloom or fish death incidents.

Contact recreation advice

The effects of the February flooding are beginning to diminish, however there may still be areas of the Swan Canning Riverpark with elevated levels of waterborne bacteria.

The Department of Health’s advice is to: “avoid swimming or other forms of primary contact recreation in water that is discoloured, murky or smells unpleasant and next to stormwater drains particularly if they are flowing”.

Primary contact recreation  includes swimming, jet-skiing, water skiing, windsurfing, diving, or any other activity in which the whole of the body or the head or trunk of the body is fully immersed.

Visit the Department of Health WA website for more information about Swan and Canning rivers bacterial monitoring and tips for healthy swimming.

Environmental conditions

Waterway monitoring is being undertaken weekly. Reports on microalgae activity and environmental conditions in the Swan and the Canning rivers can be found on the Parks and Wildlife website.

Riverpark notifications and alerts will be used where algal species occur at concentrations that may be harmful to aquatic life or human health and requires public advice. There are no current alerts for the Riverpark relating to algae activity.

Low oxygen conditions are affecting wide areas of the lower Swan and Canning rivers (see image below). These conditions are heightened by saline bottom water and fresher surface waters not mixing (more info here). The low oxygen conditions are already thought to be affecting crabs and other invertebrate fauna and fish deaths could occur in the affected areas. It is expected that these conditions will remain in place for some time and may proliferate upstream. Members of the public are encouraged to call FishWatch 1800 815 507 to report any dead or sluggish fish in the Riverpark. 

Recreational fishing

Standard Department of Health advice is that the public should not consume wild shellfish (eg: mussels and cockles) from the Swan Canning Riverpark, as the quality cannot be assured.  The Department of Health issues warnings regarding the consumption of fish, prawns or crabs from the Swan and Canning rivers.  Please contact the Department of Health WA for further information.

Fishers may have noticed the die-off of mussels in the lower estuary. This is a natural phenomenon that occurs when freshwater flows affect the mussels, which prefer more saline water. Mussels are expected to recover in time.

In-water hazards

Parks and Wildlife officers continue to inspect the river for floating navigation hazards and are removing these hazards where possible. A number of navigation warnings have been issued by the Department of Transport regarding damaged navigation aids.

Visit the Department of Transport’s website navigation warnings for further information.

Foreshores

Some parks and roads adjacent to the river have been closed and people should contact the relevant local government for further information.

Parks and Wildlife officers are currently observing large accumulations of seagrass wrack at some popular Riverpark recreation areas. The seagrass die-off at this time is likely a response to changing environmental conditions (e.g. light and salinity) associated with the flood flows.  Seagrass is a natural and important part of the river ecosystem and seagrass meadows are expected to recover from this event. Management actions will be assessed in conjunction with local riverfront councils.

Mosquitoes

The Department of Health is warning people to take precautions against biting insects following the recent widespread rainfall and flooding events across Western Australia.  Visit the Department of Health’s website prevent mosquito bites at home for further information.

Emergency information

Emergency information can be found on the  Emergency WA website.

Link to website alert. 


 

Flood response update for the Swan Canning Riverpark

Heavy and widespread rainfall in the Avon catchment earlier this month has resulted in unusually high flows into the Swan Canning Riverpark. Below is an update from the Department of Parks and Wildlife on how we are responding to these conditions. Regular updates will be posted on the Department’s notifications and alerts webpage.

Water Quality and Contact Recreation Alert

The public are reminded that following heavy rainfall across the catchment many pollutants from streets, gardens and farms are flushed into our waterways.

High levels of waterborne bacteria have been detected from some stormwater drains within the Swan Canning Riverpark. This can make the water unsafe for primary contact recreation.

Standard precautions are to avoid swimming for three days after significant rainfall, however with flood water still discharging, the Department of Health’s advice is to: “avoid swimming or other forms of primary contact recreation in water that is discoloured, murky or smells unpleasant and next to stormwater drains particularly when they are flowing”.

Caution should be exercised to avoid ingesting water. Primary contact recreation includes swimming, jet-skiing, water skiing, windsurfing, diving, or any other activity in which the whole of the body or the head or trunk of the body is fully immersed.

Pets and livestock should also be kept out of the water at this time. 

Visit the Department of Health WA website for information about Swan and Canning rivers bacterial monitoring and tips for healthy swimming.

Environmental monitoring

Waterway monitoring is being undertaken weekly. Reports on microalgae activity  and environmental conditions in the Swan and the Canning rivers can be found on the Parks and Wildlife website.

Widespread foaming and coloured water is currently being observed in the waterway as far downstream as Fremantle. The foam is caused by the breakdown of organic material.

Riverpark notifications and alerts will be used where algal species occur at concentrations that may be harmful to aquatic life or human health and requires public advice.

There are no current alerts for the Riverpark related to harmful algal species.

Water levels

There are no current flood warnings for the Swan River. No significant rainfall is forecast for the outlook period and renewed river rises are not expected. Information on any flood watches or warnings for the Avon River and Swan River are available from the Bureau of Meteorology.

Recreational fishing

Standard Department of Health advice is that the public should not consume wild shellfish (eg: mussels and cockles) from the Swan Canning Riverpark, as the quality cannot be assured. The Department of Health issues warnings regarding the consumption of fish, prawns or crabs from the Swan and Canning rivers. Please contact the Department of Health WA for further information.

Recreational fishers and participants in the Swan Fish angling competition on 25 and 26 February should exercise caution to reduce the risk of ingesting water.

In-water hazards

Parks and Wildlife officers continue to inspect the river for floating navigation hazards and are removing these hazards where possible. A number of navigation warnings have been issued by the Department of Transport regarding damaged navigation aids.

Mariners are advised to navigate the Swan and Canning rivers with caution and skiers are advised to postpone any skiing activities until the flood waters recede. Visit the Department of Transport’s website navigation warnings for further information.

Foreshores

Parks and Wildlife is prioritising the assessment of foreshore areas affected by flood waters with local governments as river water levels decrease. Some parks and roads adjacent to the river have been closed and people should contact the relevant local government for further information.

Parks and Wildlife officers are currently observing large accumulations of seagrass wrack at some popular Riverpark recreation areas. The seagrass die-off at this time is likely a response to changing environmental conditions (e.g. light and salinity) associated with the flood flows. Seagrass is a natural and important part of the river ecosystem and seagrass meadows are expected to recover from this event. Management actions will be assessed in conjunction with local riverfront councils.

Mosquitoes

The Department of Health is warning people to take precautions against biting insects following the recent widespread rainfall and flooding events across Western Australia. Visit the Department of Health’s website prevent mosquito bites at home for further information.

Emergency information

Further details can be found on the  Emergency WA website

Flood response update for the Swan Canning Riverpark

Recent heavy and widespread rainfall in the Avon catchment is continuing to deliver unusually high flows into the Swan Canning Riverpark.  Below is an update from the Department of Parks and Wildlife on how we are responding to these conditions. Regular updates will be posted on the Department’s notifications and alerts webpage.

Water Quality and Contact Recreation Alert

The public are reminded that following heavy rainfall across the catchment many pollutants from streets, gardens and farms are flushed into our waterways.

High levels of waterborne bacteria are being detected in some areas of the Swan Canning Riverpark. This can make the water unsafe for contact recreation.

Standard precautions are to avoid swimming for three days after significant rainfall, however with flooding still current, the Department of Health advice is to avoid contact recreation in the waterway for at least a few more days. Contact recreation is defined as recreational activities involving a significant risk of ingestion of water, including wading by children, swimming, water skiing, diving.

Pets and livestock should also be kept out of the water at this time. 

Visit the Department of Health WA website for information about Swan and Canning rivers bacterial monitoring and tips for healthy swimming.

Environmental monitoring

Waterway monitoring is being undertaken weekly. Reports on microalgae activity  and environmental conditions in the Swan and the Canning rivers can be found on the Parks and Wildlife website.

Widespread foaming and coloured water is currently being observed in the waterway as far downstream as Fremantle. The foam is caused by the breakdown of organic material.

Riverpark notifications and alerts will be used where algal species occur at concentrations that may be harmful to aquatic life or human health and requires public advice.

There are no current alerts for the Riverpark related to harmful algal species.

Increased water levels

A minor flood warning remains current for the Swan River. Levels are likely to increase within the Riverpark as flood peaks from the Avon Catchment move downstream in the coming days.  Information on any flood watches or warnings for the Avon River and Swan River are available from the Bureau of Meteorology.

Recreational fishing

Standard Department of Health advice is that the public should not to consume wild shellfish (eg: mussels and cockles) from the Swan Canning Riverpark, as the quality cannot be assured.

For further advice regarding consumption of fish, prawns or crabs from the Swan and Canning rivers please contact the Department of Health WA.

In-water hazards

Parks and Wildlife officers continue to inspect the river for floating navigation hazards and are removing these hazards where possible. A number of navigation warnings have been issued by the Department of Transport regarding damaged navigation aids.

Mariners are advised to navigate the Swan and Canning rivers with caution and skiers are advised to postpone any skiing activities until the flood waters recede. Visit the Department of Transport’s website navigation warnings for further information.

Foreshores

Parks and Wildlife is prioritising the assessment of foreshore areas affected by flood waters with local governments as river water levels decrease.  Some parks and roads adjacent to the river have been closed and people should contact the relevant local government for further information.

Mosquitoes

The Department of Health is warning people to take precautions against biting insects following the recent widespread rainfall and flooding events across Western Australia.  Visit the Department of Health’s website prevent mosquito bites at home for further information.

Emergency information

Further details can be found on the  Emergency WA website

Heavy rainfall

Recent heavy and widespread rainfall in the catchment has resulted in over 150mm of rainfall causing unusually high flow into the Swan Canning Riverpark. Further heavy falls are expected over the next week.

The public are reminded that after heavy rainfall, many pollutants from streets, gardens and farms are flushed into our rivers and ocean through the stormwater systems. This can make the water unsafe for swimming, especially if you put your head under or swallow the water.

As a precaution people should avoid swimming:
1 day after heavy rainfall (more than 10 mm), in coastal waters.
3 days after heavy rainfall (more than 10 mm), in river/estuarine systems.

An algal alert is in place for the Canning River due to elevated levels of potentially toxic blue-green algae. The area of the river affected is between Nicholson Rd Bridge, Cannington and Riverton Bridge, Shelley.

Warning signs have been erected and the Department of Health recommends that people do not engage in any water contact recreation in that area or where there are any scums or discoloured water, due to potential skin irritation reactions other health effects.
Pets are more susceptible and should not be permitted to enter the water in this area.

The Department of Health also reminds the public not to consume wild shellfish (eg: mussels, cockles)  from the Swan Canning Riverpark.

Image by Benedict Marillion, Northam Weir.