Agencies prepare for algal blooms

LOCAL agencies involved in managing blue-green algal blooms in the Gippsland region met recently for a briefing and further planning for the coming season.

DSE regional co-ordinator for algae management Dr Daniel Mainville said it was heartening to see so many organisations represented at the briefing.

“It’s reassuring to meet with representatives from across the region and Melbourne who are involved in the management of algal blooms and be able to plan and share information and ideas about how we respond to those blooms,” he said.

Dr Mainville said the natural conditions that increase the chances of algal blooms in the Gippsland Lakes – freshwater, nutrients and warm sunny weather – indicate a high likelihood of another bloom this season.

“Recent algal blooms in water bodies around the south-east Australian coast have increased public awareness and highlighted the importance of good monitoring and planning for these events,” he said.

Together with local tourism and fishing industry representatives, the managing agencies have response plans in place that will minimise any disruption and make sure that visitors to the Lakes are able to safely enjoy the many attractions on offer.

“There has been a co-ordinated effort by government agencies, tourism bodies and local shires to prepare for a possible bloom and manage any impacts on local industries.

“With reliable up-to date information and communications, people can still enjoy all the attractions of the Lakes and east Gippsland region, even in the event of another bloom.

“We are monitoring algal levels across the Lakes system on a weekly basis to give us current information on the trends in the Lakes and help predict any potential blooms and be prepared to respond to them.”

From December 7, the results of the weekly monitoring will be available to the public on the DSE Water website, www.water.vic.gov.au, and the Gippsland Lakes Ministerial Advisory Committee website, www.gippslandlakes.net.au

Monitoring will continue throughout the summer and communities will be kept up to date with information about any algal blooms through local media, visitor information centres, tourism operators and relevant websites.

DSE is in regular communication with tourism industry bodies and other Gippsland Lakes users to share information.

Through Destination Gippsland and the regional tourism and marketing bodies, the many attractions of the Lakes and region will be strongly promoted in the lead up to the holiday season, with information provided to assure visitors of a safe and enjoyable visit.