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The Derwent River is this month’s focus for #SeaToSource


As a picturesque winding river with seven lakes and stretching over 200km, the Derwent River isn’t one to be missed.

In fact, with numerous thriving ecosystems and 40% of Tasmania’s population living on its banks, the Derwent River is a worthy focus for CVA, as part of their recent #SeaToSource project.

#SeaToSource is a national project backed by the Australian Government, which focuses on eight rivers and urban waterways around Australia in the first year. Each of the rivers and waterways were chosen for their unique importance to their local communities, the species which rely on them, and threats the rivers are facing from plastic litter.  The aim is to involve communities around Australia to tackle litter at its source, and ultimately to protect the Great Southern Reef which stretches from Western Australia to Queensland and all around Tasmania. 

Running from the pristine Tasmanian wilderness world heritage area, Cradle mountain, down to the Derwent Estuary, through Tasmania’s capital city Hobart and flowing out at the Tasman Sea and Great Southern Reef —  the Derwent River is also the most urbanised river in Tasmania — making it more important than ever to protect.

The Derwent also flows through internationally recognised wetlands, making it an environment rich in biodiversity which supports several endangered animals including the iconic spotted handfish. Minke whales, humpback whales and more recently, southern right whales have been seen in the estuary, a welcomed visitor after whales were wiped out in the area during a whaling boom in the 1800s.

Local CVA Project Officer, Ashleigh Carden, says that the Derwent river and estuary are an important part of many people’s lives —  flowing through Hobart, it’s a popular spot for fishing, boating, swimming, rowing and community activities.

“But as the city of Hobart grows, so do the biological pressures of urban life on aquatic ecosystems. One issue highlighted by the community of Derwent estuary is the increasing amount of litter being washed up or flowing to the water’s edge. Storm water drains from all around Hobart bring litter from the streets – most notably, cigarette butts from sidewalks. This as well as marine debris caused by thriving tourist activity and fishing on the estuary mean litter is on the rise.

#SeaToSource removes plastic pollution through community clean-ups, and also educates people to understand and target sources of plastic pollution in their daily lives. Through the #SeaToSource initiative, you can become part of a national movement of people working together to make a real difference in their local environments.

We want to tackle this litter. Join us to be a part of the solution, ensuring the river Derwent runs clear and remains the beautiful recreational spot that it is not only for Tasmanian residents and visitors but for the many special plants and animals that call this unique environment home.”

Ashleigh will be working alongside other community groups, and hosting a number of community clean ups and litter monitoring events over the coming months. For those interested in rolling up their sleeves to take action for nature, you can find out more about volunteer opportunities here: 

Conservation Volunteers Australia is also inviting everyone who cares about tackling plastic litter to get on board and share their stories about their time spent on the Derwent River here: 

#SeaToSource is supported by the Australian Government under the Environment Restoration Fund.


Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) is a national organisation working with communities to rebalance nature for a stronger, more resilient future. We combine evidence-based practices and people power to make real and lasting change at scale. Founded in 1982, CVA is a leader in delivering practical initiatives, community involvement and training programs with volunteer opportunities offered all year round, to encourage anyone across Australia to take action for nature. 

Through our work, we’re building a more harmonious and helpful relationship between people and nature and we’ve been recognised with many significant awards, including the United Nations’ Environment Program Global 500, 6 Banksia Environmental Foundation Awards, Coastal Award for Excellence, UNWTO Ulysses Award for Innovation in Non-Governmental Organizations & Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Community Business Partnerships. 

For more information, visit 

#SeaToSource is a project supported by the Australian Government under the Environment Restoration Fund. Find out more at  

#SeaToSource is part of Conservation Volunteers Australia’s Revive campaign, which engages communities to care deeply for their local aquatic habitats. 

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