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 is one of several NSW Government departments/agencies that is delivering MEMS projects 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.

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What activities are supported by the Marine Estate Management Strategy?

MEMS projects include:

  • restoration of riparian areas on waterways
  • stabilising the banks of waterways
  • reducing sediment and nutrient runoff from farms into waterways
  • reef restoration
  • rehabilitating roads and tracks identified as contributing sediment into coastal lakes, wetlands and estuaries.

The on-ground projects help to:

  • increase water quality
  • improve the natural environment
  • create employment opportunities
  • support marine industries
  • collaborate with Aboriginal communities who have a long history of coastal resource management.

We are proud to play a key role in delivering many of the on-ground projects and engaging with local stakeholders.

What are the benefits of the Marine Estate Management Strategy to landholders and the environment?

Projects undertaken through the MEMS offers many benefits to the local environment including:

  • 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
  • increase water efficiency
  • increased biodiversity of flora and fauna
  • creates functional wildlife corridors
  • improved amenity and visual appeal
  • improved cattle health
  • reduced weed load on the property.

Riparian areas benefit from hard-working landholders

Landholders who are participating in the MEMS funded Riparian Restoration Project are pleased to see the local environment and primary production benefit from a range of on-ground works.

On the North Coast, where works were carried out on 8 properties, some of the wins achieved in 2022 include:

  • protection of 7km of creekbank along Pearces Creek and Duck Creek
  • planting over 8,000 trees
  • excluding livestock from 970 metres of creek frontage
  • managing large Madeira and woody weed infestations
  • completing maintenance works on over 40 hectares on previous project sites.

The works undertaken have and will continue to:

  • increase ecological function and biodiversity, including creating healthy wildlife corridors
  • mitigate pollutants entering waterways
  • increase bank stability during flooding events
  • rehabilitate the Big Scrub Rainforest.

On the South Coast, landholders have been supported to undertake riverbank vegetation improvements, including native vegetation planting, stock exclusion and weed control along waterways. Some of the wins achieved on the South Coast in 2022 include:

  • completion of riparian improvement works in Middle Lagoon and Moruya River catchments, including planting 1,800 native plants and weed control along 1.85km of riverbank
  • funding 13 management agreements to improve native vegetation along 11.5km (26.19 hectares) of riverbank
  • maintenance works completed for 9.97km of riverbank across 36.16 hectares.

We want to thank all the participating landholders, as well as the team at Big Scrub Regeneration, who completed the primary works on the 8 properties on the North Coast.

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?

We are 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 thanks to the MEMS, 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 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.

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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