Report examines reversion of Lake Innes to freshwater

EXHIBITION of a draft report examining the possible reversion of Lake Innes to freshwater is expected to go on public exhibition next month.

Consultants Jennifer Hale and her associates are preparing the draft environmental assessment report looking at the social, economic and environmental implications and the feasibility of reverting the lake to freshwater.

The team has just completed its second round of community consultation which will assist them in the detailed draft environmental assessment.

Project manager David Pensini said the multi-disciplinary team reflected the range of issues involved.

“The project’s focus is looking at the future management of Lake Innes but the issue underpinning this is the idea of whether or not it would be feasible to revert Lake Innes to freshwater,” he said.

“Certainly, communities such as Lake Cathie have been particularly interested, because they are probably the ones that have more of an association with Lake Innes itself.”

Specific interest groups have also been involved in the consultation.

The Lake Cathie Progress Association annual general meeting on Sunday heard the latest progress.

Lake Innes, located south-west of Port Macquarie, is within Lake Innes Nature Reserve.

Before 1933, the lake was separated from the estuary system of Cathie Creek and Lake Cathie under most conditions.

It is likely Lake Innes was predominantly freshwater with perhaps periods of brackish conditions.

A channel was constructed in 1933 connecting Lake Innes to the estuary, with the aim of draining the system for agricultural development.

Marine water entered the lake.

Northern Rivers Catchment Management Authority is the host agency for the study which was funded under the federal government’s Caring for our Country Program.

The draft environmental assessment will be presented to the project steering committee before it is released for public exhibition.

Mr Pensini said a high level of interest was expected when the draft report went on exhibition.

The assessment, which will contain recommendations, aims to provide clear guidance for the future management of Lake Innes.

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