HIGH WATER: Residents are concerned by the rise of Tallow Creek at Suffolk Park shown here open to the sea.
HIGH WATER: Residents are concerned by the rise of Tallow Creek at Suffolk Park shown here open to the sea. Facebook Byron Shire Council

Locals fear flooding from creek's persistent high water

PERSISTENTLY high water levels in Tallow Creek has prompted Byron Shire Council to ask for community feedback as it reviews its management stratregy for the waterway.

As water levels remain high with many Suffolk Park residents complaining of flooding, inundation in yards and a lack of access to the beach.

Water levels in Tallow Creek have been high for more than eight weeks because of rain in May-June this year and the community concern about flooding has prompted Council to review the existing management strategy for the waterway.

Byron Shire Council's Coastal and Biodiversity Officer, Chloe Dowsett, said Tallow Creek is an Intermittently Closed or Open Lake or Lagoon, or ICOLL, which, while it periodically opens and closes to the ocean naturally, is closed most of the time.

"As water builds up in the creek after heavy rain flooding of backyards and walking paths occurs, however, in previous years the length of flooding until the mouth naturally breaches over the beach berm (sand bar) is generally only a couple of weeks”, Ms Dowsett said.

"Since 2004 Council has only had to open the creek once, so the situation at the moment is very unusual and it has prompted Council to look at the Environmental Management Plan and Opening Strategy.

"For example, the Strategy does not identify a trigger for how long private property may be flooded for and this may be contemplated in close consultation with NSW Government agencies and the community,” Ms Dowsett said.

"Council has a licence from the National Parks and Wildlife Service and DPI Fisheries to open the mouth of the creek but only when water levels reach a certain height (2.2m or above) or if the water quality poses a concern to human health and despite extensive testing and monitoring neither of these things have occurred yet,” she said.

Council is asking all residents in the Suffolk Park area, and people who walk or ride in the Tallow Creek area to do an online survey.

The survey can be found at: www.yoursaybyronshire.com.au/admin/projects/tallow-creek-opening-strategy.

It closes on 14 September 2018.