Four coal mines are currently operational in the Special Areas of the Greater Sydney Water Catchment: Dendrobium Mine, Wongawilli Colliery, Russell Vale Colliery, and Metropolitan Mine. These areas are tightly protected, and individuals can attract a $44,000 fine for simply setting foot inside. However, mining companies are permitted to mine beneath these critical areas. Countless historic “legacy” mines have also mined within these Special Areas.

Due to legal restrictions, it is very difficult for members of the public to enter the water catchment special areas, and so citizen science efforts to systematically document impacts of mining on these ecosystems is nearly impossible. The photos below have been taken by citizen scientists over the last decade.

There has media coverage in recent years documenting the damage to catchment areas: