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If you'd like to unsubscribe and stop receiving The river begins at Graf Park, Yagoona, then flows in a roughly north-easterly direction to Chullora. It reaches its northernmost point at Strathfield, where it leads into a concrete open canal, no more than one metre wide and thirty centimetres deep, and heads towards the south-east. Part of the river, where it runs through Strathfield Golf Course, has had the concrete lining removed. Here the plants have returned and have created an environment where the water is filtered and runs clean, and where wildlife has returned. One section here is called the Chain of Ponds.
At Belfield it joins with the Cox Creek Channel and flows in an easterly direction. The canal widens and deepens as it picks up stormwater from surrounding suburbs, such as Campsie and becomes influenced by tidal action.
At Canterbury, it is joined by Cup and Saucer Creek. Industrial areas line the Cooks River at Canterbury. In the past, factories discharged their waste directly into the water.
The valley becomes more pronounced as the river reaches Tempe, where it is joined by Wolli Creek and the Alexandra Canal. The Princes Highway crosses the Cooks River and links Tempe to the suburb of Wolli Creek.
The course of the final south-flowing section of river is entirely artificial, altered to accommodate the expanding Sydney Airport. Cooks River connects with Botany Bay at Kyeemagh.
The corridor of land beside the river is a conduit for many services along large parts of its length including electricity, high voltage lines, a high pressure oil pipe owned by Shell, and high volume sewage pipes. Many of the lower lying areas have been filled and are parks and sports grounds. In spite of this the river and adjacent lands are being recognised for their beauty, history, amenity, environmental value, if not also for potential for improvements. The walkway and cycleway beside much of the "river" is part of the path connecting Sydney Olympic Park with Botany Bay.
Care and control of the river is shared between many local councils and the New South Wales Government through agencies such as the Sydney Metropolitan Catchment Management Authority, the Environment Protection Authority and the Sydney Water corporation.
The river also has a number of community based organisations which assist it's maintenance, in particular The Cooks River Valley Association (CRVA). The CRVA grew from The Cooks River Improvement League, founded in 1925, which had published a book entitled “Our Ocean to Ocean Opportuity”. The League recommended cleaning up the river by developing a canal system and removing of the footings of Tempe Dam, proposal which had been made originally by engineer H B Henson, in 1896.
In 2010 the Cup and Saucer Wetlands were built in Canterbury to create a natural environment for the native wildlife and fauna.
Selected areas of the Cooks River which is lined with concrete will be replaced in 2013 and 2014 with a more natural bank with sand stone rocks and indigenous planting.
The Cooks River has a catchment area of 100 square kilometres (39 sq mi), within the metropolitan areas of Sydney enclosed by urban environments and extensive recreational areas. The human population of this area is over 400,000 people. There are over 100,000 commercial and industrial premises. The river has typical water catchment management problems characteristic of heavily urbanised areas, including:
Removal of native vegetation and habitat destruction
Modified hydrology including increased peak run-off rates due to covering of land with hard surfaces, concrete storm water canals" and re-routing of water courses
Pollution from motor vehicles, litter, sewage, illegal dumping, industrial, commercial and domestic activities
Nutrient enrichment from surrounding environment, especially due