Save our sick rivers

Sue Pethick wants to see new life breathed into a dying Swan River ecosystem . Picture: Martin Kennealey d396548
Sue Pethick wants to see new life breathed into a dying Swan River ecosystem . Picture: Martin Kennealey d396548

For the past 34 years, Sue Pethick has lived in Redcliffe and watched the river that used to be abundant with cobbler, flathead and black bream slowly die.

Mrs Pethick has ‘adopted the spot’ of Ayres Bushland in Redcliffe, a Clean-Up Australia program, for the past five years and witnessed significant changes in the quality and quantity of native flora and fauna.

‘It needs a whole river plan ” we can do this little bit but there’s only so much we can do,’ she said.

‘They tried to stock the river with fish a number of times but the algae bloom kills them.

‘I haven’t seen a turtle probably in the last four years ” we hope that they’re still here.’

Ayres Bushland is not only a popular spot for cyclists and walkers, but also an essential part of the river ecosystem that acts as a filter for all chemical run-offs and rubbish that flows down the banks.

‘All the water that falls on to the land flows into the sea ” this area stops it going out into the river and ocean where it harms marine wildlife,’ Mrs Pethick said.

While during the summer vegetation has regrown ” a sign that fewer fisherman are walking along the banks ” Mrs Pethick fears the winter, when the banks of the river will rise and more chemical run-off will flow straight into the Swan.

‘A whole of government approach to the river is needed because it’s such a complex, interconnected system,’ she said.

‘It’s just one thing, but if they could deal with the water-soluble fertilisers it would be a big help.

‘This is the Swan River, it’s a beautiful spot and we should do everything we can to preserve it.’