A recent report into sediment raking in kanamaluka/the Tamar River estuary should be a "catalyst" to focus on the future of the trouble-plagued waterway, Launceston's peak business body says.
The City of Launceston Council has called off any further raking in light of this week's Sedimentation Management Report release and is now considering a return to dredging the estuary instead.
The report - to be discussed at next week's council meeting - found that raking sediment had in fact moved it into navigational channels and caused difficulty for boats.
Decades of human industrial and agricultural activity have led to long-running concerns about the estuary's ecological and public health. Reduced flows since the damming of the South Esk River in 1955 have contributed to other worries about sediment build up.
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In comments on Friday, Launceston Chamber of Commerce executive officer Neil Grose said developing a "clearer aligning" of management bodies could help realise the economic, social and environmental "opportunities" of the waterway.
He said other cities internationally had achieved this task but it appeared to be "lacking" for the Tamar.
Governance of the estuary is spread across a number of municipalities and government jurisdictions. An advisory body, the Tamar Estuary Management Taskforce, was established under the Launceston City Deal.
Commercial navigation of the estuary had been "noticeably" worse in recent times, Mr Grose added. He said the chamber awaited the results of a feasibility study commissioned into the relocation of the Ship Lift business to Bell Bay in January 2017.
"The scientific evidence says that silt flats are an important structural feature to the health of an estuary - the key challenge is how we accommodate the community's economic and social expectations of the estuary with the environmental reality of the natural functions of an estuary," Mr Grose said.
NRM North chief executive Rosanna Coombes agreed that silt flats were a sign the estuary was operating as it should. However she said research showed releasing water from Trevallyn Dam would also be ineffective in managing sediment levels.
She said the reports findings showed why science needed to underpin decision making and the best way forward was to help the community "love the mudflats" and see them as indicators of river health.
"Those mudflats actually support a lot of biodiversity in the region," Ms Coombes added.
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