By Will Higham, Cape York Natural Resource Management

Cape York NRM has started work on a water quality planning and implementation framework for Cape York Peninsula.

Over the next 12 months the project focus will include rivers that flow to the eastern side of the Cape into the Great Barrier Reef lagoon, including  Jacky Jacky, Olive-Pascoe, Lockhart, Stewart, Normanby, Jeannie, Endeavour and Annan rivers.

The aim of the project is to development of practical actions for maintenance or improvement of water quality values in regional rivers, wetlands and springs. These waterways are of ulitmate importance to local communities.

During 2014 Cape York NRM staff plan to meet with residents across the Cape for discussion on the water used for drinking, recreation, fishing, stock and irrigation. Staff will also be enquire about the importance of rivers systems in traditional practices and culture.

“We really want to work with the broad community to build a water quality improvement plan, providing a framework for a way forward.

The plan required responds to community needs by providing guidelines for the future and identifies and prioritises actions for the improvment, or in many cases maintenance of quality of  waterway and wetlands water,” Bob Frazer said.

“We will be working closely with South Cape York Catchments to travel and learn about the social, cultural, economic and environmental values of these water bodies and identifying the reasons for their importance to the people of Cape York”.

The water quality improvement planning process is funded as part of the Australian Government’s commitment to protection of the Great Barrier Reef.