Marine Estate Management Strategy 

The Marine Estate Management Strategy (MEMS) is a NSW Government initiative to protect the states 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.

Local Land Services will be working to deliver Marine Estate Management Strategy programs to protect and enhance our waterways, coastline and estuaries through capacity-building activities and a range of on-ground works including wetland restoration, riparian fencing and replanting, and riverbank protection that will provide natural water quality improvements.

Corrugated logs fillets

What activities are supported by the Marine Estate Management Strategy?

MEMS on-ground projects include:

  • restoration of riparian areas on waterways
  • stabilising the banks of waterways
  • reducing sediment runoff from farms into waterways
  • reef restoration

The on-ground projects help to increase water quality and improve the natural environment. Local Land Services is playing a key role in delivering many of the on-ground projects and engaging with local stakeholders.

The Marine Estate Management Strategy will create employment opportunities into the future delivering on-ground works and education programs, supporting marine industries, and working collaboratively with Aboriginal communities who have a long history of coastal resource management.

MEMS project leads to prestigious environmental award

Text: At the recent International Erosion Control Association (ICEA) Australasia Environmental Excellence Awards for 2022, North Coast Local Land Services were honoured to win the ‘Excellence for a project or operation of any value’ category for their work to improve water quality and the local environment in the Emigrant Creek, Richmond River Catchment.

The work was carried out as part of the MEMS initiative and included:

  • over 40 km of riparian restoration works over approximately 90 hectares undertaken
  • 3 km of bank stabilisation works undertaken
  • bank stabilisation works have mitigated over 2,000 tonnes of sediment per flood event from entering waterways since the project began in 2019.

This work has not only increased ecological function but also increased bank stability during flooding events.

In the words of the judges: “This approach in bank stabilisation, mangrove rehabilitation is innovative utilising sustainable products. Excellent model to be replicated across number tidal waterways experiencing similar impacts with reduced cost model.”

Well done to the landholders and stakeholders involved in this project, including the Ballina Shire Council and Soil Conservation Service.

MEMS Riparian Rehabilitation Project

Expressions of interest now open.

Are you a landholder that is interested in improving the water quality of creeks, streams, gullies and rivers on or adjacent to your land?

Are you concerned about the amount of soil and sediment being lost from your property because of surface runoff or the quality of your water being impacted by your stock?

Local Land Services is calling for expressions of interest from landholders and land managers along targeted waterways in the Richmond River Catchment to undertake works to improve water quality.

The works, which will be delivered through the Riparian Rehabilitation Project which is part of the bigger Marine Estate Management Strategy, will focus on improving water quality by reducing the amount of nutrients and sediments entering waterways through riparian rehabilitation works.

The eligible waterways for this round are:Replanting grasses for riparian restoration

  • Skinners Creek
  • Wilsons River
  • Pearces Creek
  • Emerald Creek
  • Bennys Creek
  • Coopers Creek
  • Maquires Creek
  • Houghlahans Creek
  • Willowbank Creek
  • Duck Creek
  • Branch Creek
  • Emigrant Creek.

The project objectives are:

  • limit the amount of diffuse pollutants entering the riparian zone from surface run-off
  • create habitat for native biota, including threatened entities (species and ecosystems).

Project works include:

  • invasive weed management
  • vegetation rehabilitation and establishment including intercept plantings
  • stock management
  • maintenance and monitoring.

Expressions of interest will be assessed on suitability to meet the project objectives with priority given to macadamia orchards and grazing properties.

Click here to complete an expression of interest.

What is the Riparian Restoration Project?

The Riparian Restoration Project is part of the bigger Marine Estate Management Strategy (MEMS) initiative focusing on improving water quality and reducing litter like nutrients and sediment loads entering waterways.

North Coast Local Land Services is offering landholders and land managers support to improve the water quality of creeks, streams, gullies and rivers on or adjacent to their land in targeted areas.

The project will primarily work with macadamia growers and graziers to rehabilitate the riparian areas on their properties to mitigate against the amount of sediment and nutrients entering the waterways due to surface runoff, and the trampling of vegetation, breakdown of soil structure and contamination of the water that uncontrolled access of stock can lead to.

How will works be undertaken?

The project works collaboratively with landholders to rehabilitate and enhance the riparian zone on the property. This involves the development and implementation of a site action plan, which is developed by an environmental contractor in consultation and liaison with the landholder.

The site action plan provides practical strategies, actions and a works schedule to restore, to the best possible extent, the structure, function, integrity and dynamics of native vegetation at the project site and limit diffuse pollutants entering the riparian zone from surface runoff.

All works are funded by North Coast Local Land Services and conducted by a qualified bush regeneration company that specialises in natural resource management in the Northern Rivers areas. Maintenance of the project site is carried out by the contractor for a period of two years and then handed back to the landholder to manage.

What are the benefits to the landholder?

The outcome of the ecological restoration component of this riparian zone project is to provide ecosystem services that:

  • limit diffuse pollutants entering the riparian zone from surface run-off
  • over time, provide increased instream carbon loads to promote natural denitrification processes
  • create habitat for native biota, including threatened entities (species and ecosystems)
  • increase capacity of landholders’ natural resource management.

This provides a range of benefits to the landholder including:

  • reduced erosion by slowing flow
  • vegetation stabilizes banks and limits land lost in flood events
  • improved water quality
  • increased biodiversity of flora and fauna
  • creates functional wildlife corridors
  • improved amenity and visual appeal
  • improved cattle health
  • reduced weed load on the property.

Download the factsheet PDF, 2381.58 KB for more information about the Riparian Restoration Project or contact Gen Maley, Land Services Officer, on 0428 394 948 or email

MEMS Case Study - Restoring the Richmond River

As the sixth largest water catchment in NSW, the Richmond River is a vital environmental and community asset. This video outlines the ongoing MEMS initiatives to improve the health of the Richmond River estuary.

Find out more about the Marine Estate Management Strategy

To find out more about the MEMS, contact your local team member or email

North Coast
Shaun Morris, Senior Land Services Officer, 0467 796 442 or

Michael Barberie, Senior Land Services Officer, 0460 310 506 or 

South East
Leanna Moerkerken, Senior Land Services Officer, 0427 291 798 or

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