Tidal waterways are unique and diverse areas of significance both to humans and the environment. These areas are important due to their ability to provide economic, recreational and aesthetic value as well as providing habitat and spawning areas, nutrient recycling and acting as a buffer between land and the ocean. It is necessary in maintaining these diverse range of uses, to break down tidal waterways into sub-categories and begin to understand their basic physical and chemical characteristics.
In analysing tidal waterways, three major categories of water bodies can be distinguished; estuaries, deltas and coastal lagoons. Each of these are unique and possess different characteristics that contribute to the overall system in maintaining a pristine condition. Nutrient contributions to these waterways is a significant factor in the decline of water quality. Through processes such as denitrification, filtering and organic material breakdown water quality is upheld.
Noosa waterways is a prime example of exploitation from human settlement. Classed as a wave-dominated estuary, the basic processes of the area can be understood. Roads, housing and recreational activities along its shoreline are major contributing factors of pollution. Slow water quality decline in the area could result in loss of such a diverse and pristine environment. It is necessary to first develop basic understandings of the contributing physical and chemical cycles of the area in order to maintain such a unique location.
In the lower reaches of this catchment many preliminary studies have been performed on nutrient runoff and algal blooms but it also necessary to understand what impacts are occurring in the upper reaches of the catchment. By performing further studies into water quality, run off and understanding the basic characteristics of the upper region these impacts can be pin pointed and managed as appropriate.