Riverbank erosion on my property

Riverbank erosion is a natural process, exacerbated by flood events and land management practices. However, there are many activities landholders can undertake to help prevent and repair erosion damage and improve the health of riparian zones.

Ways to manage and address riverbank erosion on my property

While most riverbank erosion works will require one or more licenses, permits or approvals, there are a range of options that do not require regulatory approvals, providing land ownership is certain and risk to sensitive environmental values such as threatened species and ecological communities is low. These include:

  • removing flood debris from fence lines and other built, land-based assets
  • fencing off the riparian zone to prevent stock access. The distance of the fencing from any bank should be least 10m but 20m or more is better for larger streams, flood prone areas, or where active erosion is occurring. Install stock access points or off-stream watering if required
  • widening and improving riverbank vegetation to promote groundcover to bind soil
  • retaining fallen timber and rocks to help slow water movement, assist establishing vegetation and provide habitat
  • limiting people, vehicle and machinery movement and access to the riparian zone
  • using natural materials such as hay bales, mulch, jute mesh and coir logs to minimise run-off
  • regular site monitoring, such as photographs, over time to document changes in the riparian zone
  • avoiding work on streambanks when they are still wet by working when the ground has dried out sufficiently.

What do I need approval for?

It is a landholder’s responsibility to determine what approvals are required and obtain permission from the relevant authorities for any proposed works before any structural riverbank work or controlled activities commences. Without first understanding and obtaining correct licenses, permits or approvals you cannot:

  • undertake earthworks with machinery
  • remove or disturb instream woody debris or ‘snags’
  • remove or disturb instream or riparian vegetation
  • bring in fill material or excavate with machinery
  • create hard structures on the bank using rock, concrete or other material
  • create instream structures or structures which block fish passage.

If you have suffered erosion damage on your property, talk to Local Land Services staff about your situation, find out more about undertaking erosion work following floods, or see if you are eligible for the river rehabilitation project.

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