Local Land Services has completed the first year of a two-year program to improve marine water quality in the North Coast, Hunter and South East regions of New South Wales.
Water pollution is the number one threat to valuable marine areas. Rehabilitating the vegetation that grows along the riverbanks, repairing degraded riverbanks and sealing dirt roads and tracks can reduce the amount of sediment and nutrient pollution entering waterways from the land.
Since the program commenced in August 2018, Local Land Services has rehabilitated 48 kilometres of riverbank vegetation, stabilised one kilometre of riverbanks and upgraded 15 dirt roads and tracks.
Ms Louise Orr, General Manager North Coast Local Land Services, said, “The program is an excellent example of what Local Land Services does best. We develop relationships with a range of stakeholders and coordinate the delivery of specialised services to achieve environmental and sustainable agriculture results.”
So far, the program has partnered with 70 different landholders, seven coastal councils, the macadamia, beef and dairy industries and several Local Aboriginal Land Councils. Works have included the sealing of dirt roads, the improvement of road drainage, the installation of log groynes, coir logs and sandbags, fencing to manage stock access, the control of weeds and revegetation.
Ms Orr said, “Sites are selected and prioritised within catchments that are exhibiting high export rates of sediment and nutrient. Local Land Services is then able to provide advice, incentives and services to landholders that reduce the amount of sediment and nutrient leaving the property.”
Participating landholders have agreed to monitor and maintain works for at least five years as part of their commitment to improving water quality for the community and environment.
Geoff Le Messurier, Senior Land Services Officer in Hunter Local Land Services, said “the enthusiasm and interest from the community have been overwhelming. Feedback has always been positive with many landholders enquiring how they can be involved in initiatives that improve water quality and the habitats of our aquatic and marine species.”
The North Coast, Hunter and South East Local Land Services project team cannot wait to commence the second year of the program. Geoff said, “We expect it will be just as successful, if not more, as the first year”.
This collaborative NSW Government initiative funded under the Marine Estate Management Strategy aims to promote a healthy coast and sea, managed for the wellbeing of the community, now and into the future.