Why is council preparing a Tweed River Estuary Coastal Management Program?

    Council, in association with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, is preparing the Coastal Management Program (CMP) to identify sustainable ways to manage the Tweed River Estuary.The Plan will determine actions that can be implemented by Council, government agency stakeholders and the community to achieve the right balance between the many different uses and to protect nature, scenic and recreational values, livelihoods and cultural practices.The Plan must meet a range of State government requirements under the new Coastal Management Act and the draft Coastal Management Manual 2015.The Plan must:
    · identify the coastal management issues and opportunities affecting the locations covered by the program
    · identify the actions required to address those coastal management issues in an integrated and strategic manner
    · identify how and when those actions are to be implemented and the allocation of responsibility. 
    This includes actions by local councils under the Local Government Act 1993 and the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and the actions of public authorities.A CMP must identify the cost of those actions and proposed cost-sharing arrangements and other viable funding mechanisms for those actions.

    What areas are included in the Plan?

    The Plan’s study area is the tidal section of the Tweed River, between the Bray Park Weir at Murwillumbah and the mouth of the river at Tweed Heads. This includes the tidal section of the Rous River.

    The Cobaki and Terranora systems do not form part of the study area because they were assessed during preparation of the Cobaki and Terranora Broadwater Coastal Zone Management Plan in 2013.

    How are the views of the Tweed community being taken into consideration?

    We are seeking community and stakeholder input through a number of avenues:
    · community phone survey in September 2016 to provide a statistically representative snapshot of how Tweed residents value the Tweed River Estuary and the key issues about how it should be managed
    · community online survey in October 2016 which will mirror the phone survey and provide further information for the Plan
    · targeted consultation with specific stakeholder/user groups associated with the Estuary
    · feedback and comments uploaded directly to the project webpage
    · feedback and comments provided directly to the project team via email, phone or post
    · The Draft Plan will be publicly available during 2018, when information sessions will enable community members to provide more input to the plan.
    · Public submissions will be considered in the review and finalisation of the Plan.
    This feedback will help identify management issues and help to tailor management solutions and actions in the plan.

    What issues will be covered by the Plan?

    The Plan will cover a range of issues, including:

    ·  ecological values, including aquatic and terrestrial habitats, riparian and floodplain connectivity, flora and fauna, and exotic species that threaten ecosystem integrity

    ·  key aquatic ecosystem processes and thresholds

    ·  water quality, including catchment inputs to the estuary, and the impact upper catchment and floodplain runoff has on ecosystem health

    ·  physical environmental conditions, including bank erosion and accretion and shoaling

    ·  existing knowledge, including scientific and community sources such as Aboriginal cultural and other user perspectives

    ·  natural resource management institutional structures, particularly recent legislative and policy changes via the NSW Coastal Management reforms

    ·  Aboriginal values and uses of the estuary

    ·  recreational use of the estuary

    ·  sustainable commercial resource use and values (eg. fish, oysters, tourism, boating, farming, sand mining, aquaculture)

    ·  adaptation to climate change, potential inundation of built assets because of sea level rise, and capacity for migration of natural habitats

    ·  community values of the estuary and aspirations for its use and management, including navigability

    ·  scenic beauty

    The Plan will guide how issues will be dealt with, who is responsible, where funding will come from and when actions will be undertaken.

    Where can I find more information about estuary management issues?

    ·  Click here to read existing studies and management plans covering many relevant issues.

    ·  Visit www.environment.nsw.gov.au/estuaries/ for information about estuaries in NSW or visit www.environment.nsw.gov.au/coasts/index.htm to read about State Government coastal management processes

    ·  Further information will be added to this webpage as it becomes available. The project team is currently compiling information on the current status of issues for the Tweed River Estuary, including community and stakeholder input.

    When will the plan be finalised?

    The draft CMP will be finalised by June 2018, following public exhibition, and will be sent to the NSW Minister for the Environment for certification. Once certified, Council staff will recommend the CMP for Council adoption. Actions in the certified CMP will be included in Council’s Community Strategic Plan, Delivery Program, resourcing strategy and land use planning instruments.

    How will the Plan assist with management of the Tweed River Estuary?

    The CMP will guide integrated management of the estuary, consistent with principles of ecologically sustainable development, the Tweed community’s aspirations, and the 12 high-level statutory objects of the new Coastal Management Act.

    A prioritised action plan will provide a clear path to implement the Plan over the next 10 years, with actions that are likely to be affordable, have tangible benefit and contribute to the long-term vision for management of the Tweed River Estuary.

    Before an action is included, it will be critically evaluated to ensure it can be effectively implemented, taking into consideration limitations imposed by funding, environmental conditions and community support.