Lake Illawarra Estuary Management Committee
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Lake Illawarra Estuary Management Committee

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​Lake Illawarra is a significant natural asset for the region, and is highly valued by the community.

The Lake and its immediate surrounding environment were managed by the Lake Illawarra Authority from 1988 to 2014. In July 2014, the Authority was disbanded and its responsibilities were transferred to Wollongong and Shellharbour councils and a number of State Agencies.

The activities of both Wollongong and Shellharbour Councils have an impact on the health and condition of Lake Illawarra, as its catchment lies across both Local Government Areas (LGAs).

Both councils have agreed to collaborate to ensure the judicious management of the Lake and its surrounds into the future and, to this end, have established a Lake Illawarra Estuary Management Committee. 

The Committee is made up of elected officials from both councils, state government agency representatives, independent scientific advisors as well as community and aboriginal representatives.
The responsibilities and functions of the Lake Illawarra Estuary Management Committee are to:
  • assist Wollongong City and Shellharbour City Councils to develop a Coastal Zone Management Plan for Lake Illawarra in accordance with the NSW Government guidelines;
  • develop a better understanding of estuary health and identify issues which need to be addressed;
  • assist in developing suitable strategies to address estuary and coastal zone management issues;
  • monitor and evaluate the implementation of the Coastal Zone Management Plan; and
  • provide advice on planning proposals and major capital works proposed to take place in the Lake Illawarra catchment.
Routine operational and maintenance matters relating to Lake Illawarra will not be the business of the Lake Illawarra Estuary Management Committee. These matters are to be followed up using the existing Customer Service functions operating at Wollongong City and Shellharbour City Councils.
Information about the Committee including minutes of meetings is available on our meetings page.
For more information please contact the Lake Illawarra Project Officer, Kristy Blackburn via Wollongong City Council on (02) 4227 7111.

Lake Illawarra Water Quality and Estuary Health Monitoring Program - Report August 2015

This report reviews the data collected in the first 18 months of the Wollongong City and Shellharbour City Council’s joint water quality and estuary health program which is funded by both councils and the state government.
It compares the current condition of the lake with the condition evident from previous records of water quality.
Findings include:
  • Water quality and the estuary health condition are variable across the lake. 
  • There is significant nutrient enrichment in the more enclosed north-east and south-west sections of the lake. The rest of the lake does not appear to have these issues.
  • The estuary health condition generally reflects this same pattern. However, the condition assessment is based on only one indicator of estuary health, chlorophyll a, and other indicators would need to be examined to confirm this status.
  • The current condition of the lake appears to have been the same for at least the last 5 to 6 years, and to have improved when compared with records of water quality before the entrance was trained. 
  • The lake appears to have become more saline since the permanent lake entrance was built. 
The review recommends that the monitoring be continued to further verify the results of the report.
This report will help to inform the development of a management plan for the lake which is being progressed by the Committee.
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