Major milestones achieved in river rehabilitation efforts

North Coast Local Land Services has been delivering a range of projects focused on addressing the numerous challenges facing our river ecosystems, including water pollution, habitat degradation, and reduced biodiversity.

These projects are being delivered collaboratively with landholders and local governments under the Marine Estate Management Strategy (MEMS). The Strategy is designed to protect the state’s coast and estuaries and support stronger coastal communities and industries. Commencing in 2018, the NSW Government committed over $180 million in new funding to the MEMS in 2022 which will see projects funded until 2028.

This year’s accomplishments add to the previous year’s outputs creating a project footprint of over 45km (90ha) of riparian rehabilitation across the Alstonville Plateau since 2019 to help improve water quality and increase biodiversity in the region.

By employing innovative strategies and utilising advanced techniques, remarkable progress in revitalising our river systems and securing their long-term sustainability has been achieved.

North Coast Local Land Services General Manager, Louise Orr, said “The projects delivered under the MEMS ensure improvements to water quality and the local environment while also benefitting local communities.

“The MEMS projects are examples of partnerships between sustainable agriculture and management of natural resources leading to whole-of-community benefits.

“Our partnerships with landholders and local governments not only stabilise the riverbanks and protect valuable farming land but also the sensitive ecosystems in our river catchments.” Louise said.

The North Coast LLS projects delivered under the Marine Estate Management Strategy aim to improve water quality through three main activities: road sealing, stabilisation and regeneration of riverbanks and riparian rehabilitation.

Shaun Morris, Senior Land Services Officer with North Coast LLS said, “Landholders in locations like these usually see erosion during extreme wet weather or flooding; projects like our bank stabilisation work helps minimise the impact.

“Healthy functioning riparian zones play a key role in water quality by trapping and filtering sediments and nutrients.

“By focusing on protecting and rehabilitating riparian vegetation we help stabilise banks to protect against erosion which also provides vital habitat and food sources for our local fauna.

“Strong partnerships with our local government partners and local primary producers have led to a reduction in excessive sediment and nutrients impacting our river systems and entering the Marine Estate. “Through projects such as transforming dirt roads adjacent to priority waterways into hard sealed surfaces, not only have we assisted aquatic habitats downstream but we have also improved the safety and access for local road users,” Shaun said.

Shaun continued “By undertaking and completing the on-ground works across the MEMS projects, there are many benefits to the immediate area and water source, as well as many flow-on benefits.”

If you would like to know more about the Marine Estate Management Strategy projects that are being delivered by Local Land Services visit our website

Media Contact

For more information, please contact Michelle Gapes, Regional Communications Advisor, North Coast/Hunter via email or 0467 291 890

Key accomplishments of the MEMS project for 2023

Riparian rehabilitation:

North Coast LLS worked with eight landholders along Skinners Creek, Pearces Creek, and the Wilsons River to rehabilitate the riparian areas on their properties.

With 6.13 km of river rehabilitation works completed, it will mitigate against the amount of sediment and nutrients entering the waterways due to surface runoff.

This project has included over 12 hectares of invasive weed management and over 10 hectares of vegetation rehabilitation and establishment by planting over 9,700 Lowland Subtropical Rainforest species.

Bank stabilisation:

Recognising the increasing threat of erosion and degradation to riverbanks in Northern part of the region, North Coast LLS has taken proactive steps to ensure the long-term health and stability of the Tweed River by collaborating with Tweed Shire Council for an upcoming project focused on bed and bank stabilisation downstream of Uki.

The project will be focused on in-stream works to help stabilise the riverbed and banks, protect against erosion, preserve valuable habitats, and promote the overall health of the river system.

Remediation of roads and tracks:

Unsealed or inadequately drained roads and tracks have a significant impact on sediment and nutrient runoff into waterways. North Coast LLS has worked with Local Governments to seal five sections of dirt roads totalling 2675 meters including two segments of Cosy Camp Road within Lismore LGA, two segments of Back Channel Road as well as Shaws Lane within the Ballina Shire Council LGA.

These works will provide substantial benefits by preventing the export of approximately 429 tonnes of road base into the Richmond River estuary during flood events.

This notable achievement contributes significantly to the overall goal of reducing sedimentation in the estuary.

When combined with the previous efforts since the project's initiation in 2019, the total amount of dirt road base that has been successfully prevented from entering the Richmond River estuary reaches an impressive figure of 1973 tonnes. This cumulative result underscores the positive impact of the ongoing project in minimising sediment runoff and preserving the ecological health of the estuary.

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