Blueberries and water quality




Between 2001 and 2016 blueberry farming has grown intensively, >400% in NSW with 90% of this growth around the Coffs Harbour region, where there are now many large operational blueberry farms. The industry expansion generated concerns amongst the local community about water quality downstream of this intensive horticulture activity. Management agencies such as Coffs Harbour Council, Environment Protection Authority and Office of Environment and Heritage have fielded numerous complaints from the community. This research project emerged as a response to these community concerns and sought to provide evidence-based advice to relevant management authorities.

“As a community member I am concerned about the rapid growth of an intensive horticultural industry on land adjacent to the waters of the Marine Park, and about the effect of nutrient runoff into creeks and waterways entering this environment”

Ian Shaw, Community Member, Coastal Estuary Management Advisory Committee, Coffs Harbour City Council.

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Acknowledgements / Collaborators

The team of Southern Cross University researchers who contributed to this research project included Professor Isaac Santos (Project Leader), PhD candidate Shane White, PhD candidate Stephen Conrad and Associate Professor Christian Sanders.

The team would like to acknowledge the input to the project from the local community especially the blueberry farmers who allowed the research group access to their farms.