River health at Ballina Rivafest

Ballina’s Rivafest is all about celebrating the coastal town on the banks of the Richmond River. One of the aims of the festival, which has activities on all this weekend is to ‘raise the importance of the Richmond River as an environmental asset’ and the Ballina Environment Society will be doing that with a series of activities in their Riverhealth Q&A tent in Fawcett Park on Sunday.

“Organisers wanted interactive tents, so that’s what we have done,” Dr Lee Andresen from the Ballina Environment Society said. “Outside the tent there are going to be panels containing foolscap placards in big bold letters with a general knowledge question about the river. You lift up the placard to find out the answer. You can learn a whole lot of things about the river.”

The questions will cover things like the size of the catchment and the length of the river, but also about how things have changed over recent years.

“There is a question about how many fishing families the river supported prior to 1970, and it was over 30 whereas today there are six. There are lots of things that people don’t realise, like how long it takes for rain from the upper catchment around Lismore or Kyogle to get to the coast (about five days) whereas at the start of the last century it used to take three months because we have destroyed all of the wetlands. So there are a lot of things to do with why the river is so sick,” he said.

Inside there will be a photo display as well as two quizzes with prizes available.

“One is a true/false questionnaire and the other is more serious. We are asking people to write what they think Ballina should do to get the river healthy again, and the entries will be judged by panel marine scientist and river experts. We’re hoping it will create some interest.”

For a full program of Rivafest activities, which include music and kids events, go to the website www.ballinarivafest.com.au.


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