Freshwater habitats are found throughout the Sydney region.
Freshwater habitats in Sydney include:
- rivers such as the Georges and the Hawkesbury/Nepean
- freshwater wetlands
- freshwater lakes
- local creeks and streams
These environments provide important feeding, spawning and nursery sites. Some animals, such as frogs and mosquitoes, rely on water to complete their life cycles, while others, such as fish (including Australian Bass) and yabbies spend their entire life in the water. Many birds, including migratory birds visit Sydney's waterways to feed and rest.
As Sydney grows, the resulting urbanisation is affecting the waterways. Pollutants such as organic matter, heavy metals, a range of chemical fertilisers, pesticides, detergents and stormwater pollution have a detrimental impact on wildlife. Invasive weeds and algae have also increased, sometimes resulting in algal blooms which alter freshwater food chains.
Fresh water is a valuable resource and, according to the United Nations, 'The declining state of the world's freshwater resources, in terms of quantity and quality, may prove to be the dominant issue on the environment and development agenda of the coming century'.