RiverScience - Cooks River Ecological Monitoring Program aims to increase the scientific knowledge available to the community about the Cooks River. It was an initiative of the Cooks River Foreshore Working Group. The initial project was a joint project between Marrickville, Kogarah, Rockdale and Canterbury Councils and subsequent monitoring has been jointly funded by Marrickville, Canterbury and Rockdale Councils with support from the Wolli Creek Preservation Society and the Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC).
The project has identified indicators such as:
These will be measured at regular intervals at nominated sampling sites to determine the ecological health and rate of change of the River. This information will help the councils and community make management decisions for the River and determine the impact of programs to improve the health of the River.
See also: Cooks River Health Report Cards
The Cooks River Survey (2005) documents the findings of sediment sampling and analysis along the Cooks River by A/Prof Alberto Albani and Honours student George Kollias from the School of Biological Sciences at the University of New South Wales. Samples were analysed for sediment characteristics, sediment geochemistry, and distribution of benthic fauna.
The study presents an overall assessment of the present status of the Cooks River. This information can now be used as a baseline for further monitoring. The study has produced several anomalous occurrences of sediment types and heavy metals that require further investigations. Significant sediment deposits are seen where drains enter the River and downstream from the cemented canalised sections of the River. The report identifies major and trace elements found in the sediment and potential sources.
You can download the Cooks River Survey (2005) below:
There is no doubt that the Cooks River is in poor ecological health. There is very low diversity and abundance of organisms compared to other estuarine systems in the Sydney region. However, consistent monitoring since 2005 is showing that the condition of the Cooks River is getting better.
Improvements and other noteworthy positive attributes include:
A summary of the 2009 results can be seen in the RiverScience Report Card 2009; full results can be found in the RiverScience - Cooks River Ecological Monitoring Program (December 2009) Report.
You can also download report cards and full results from previous years: