Sunwater has received reports of illegal tree clearing at Tinaroo Falls Dam.
We would like to remind the public that this activity puts the safety of those cutting the trees, as well as that of others, at risk.
Sunwater views these matters very seriously and reports incidents to Atherton police and Maritime Safety Queensland.
Boaties are urged to exercise caution as tree stumps may be present at or just below the surface of the water. It is important to note that the skipper of any vessel is primarily responsible for monitoring safe conditions and operating their vessel appropriately.
Sunwater asks anyone visiting Tinaroo Falls Dam for recreation purposes to take care. Remember, submerged objects such as tree branches, stumps, sharp rocks, loose or slippery rocks, sandbanks and debris are always present and can cause serious injury.
Visitors should read signs, beware of hazards, stay aware of their surroundings so they can enjoy waterways safely.
Why we don’t cut trees down
Sunwater does not cut down trees at Tinaroo Falls Dam for the following reasons:
- There are many trees in Tinaroo Lake, most are highly visible and do not pose a public safety risk. When trees are cut, they become submerged or partially exposed and are poorly visible which creates a safety hazard for lake users.
- Indiscriminate cutting of trees can render previous hazard mapping obsolete. It may result in dangerous stumps under the water that have not been mapped, while also producing floating or submerged debris that can move to other areas of the lake previously marked as safe.
- Trees contribute to the health of the waterway by supporting aquatic life and are beneficial for fish restocking and angling in the lake.
- Some trees in Lake Tinaroo are considered sacred to Traditional Owners and Sunwater respects the significance of these trees to Indigenous People.
Removal of dangerous trees
Unfortunately, there have been reports of community members illegally clearing trees in Lake Tinaroo when water levels are low, which has created undefined areas of extremely dangerous tree stumps at varying levels.
Removal of these tree stumps is not feasible until the dam reaches a level of at least 12 metres below the spillway. At this point, Sunwater together with the Tinaroo Safety Reference Group will examine options for safe and efficient tree removal.
How Sunwater addresses safety at Lake Tinaroo
A safe program of hazard reduction lead by Sunwater, including tree cutting, was explored in consultation with the Tinaroo Safety Reference Group members to improve safety for recreational users.
The program includes an underwater survey to assess the extent of submerged hazards within Lake Tinaroo which was completed in 2018 and covered approximately a 500ha area of the lake accessible by boat at the low lake level.
Underwater survey results were comprehensively reviewed by Sunwater and Maritime Safety Queensland to inform the gazettal of 300 hectares of the lake safe for high speed recreational water activities at low lake levels.
Sunwater is committed to finding a safe and viable options to improving the safety of all users at Lake Tinaroo.