Partnerships to restore riverbanks

MidCoast Council

Three riverbank restoration projects which will provide long term improvements in water quality and fish habitat are kicking off thanks to a strong partnership between local landholders, MidCoast Council and NSW Department of Primary Industries.

“Council has been successful in securing over $113,110 in funding from the NSW Department of Primary Industries through its Recreational Fishing Trust Habitat Action Grants for three riverbank restoration projects in the lower Manning and Wallamba Rivers,” said Council’s Sustainability and Natural Assets Coordinator, Tanya Cross.

In addition to the grants, Council is contributing $71,870 from the Environmental Rate, and the participating landholders are also making significant cash and in-kind contributions.

“The impacts of land clearing, grazing cattle and boat wash cause both riverbank erosion and sedimentation of the estuary, and have been a serious problem for many years,” said Ms Cross.

“Excessive sediment can smother seagrass beds and produce cloudy water which is detrimental to fish habitat and has been particularly evident following the recent flood event.”

Identified in the Manning River Estuary and Catchment Management Program as a high priority issue to address, stabilising riverbanks leads to improved water quality by reducing sediment build-up and in turn, creates healthier habitat for fish and benefits for recreational fishers through improved fish stocks and species condition.

The riverbank restoration projects will be undertaken in partnership with three local landholders and involve a number of best-practice riverbank stabilisation techniques.

Rock and timber fillets, which are barriers constructed in front of the eroding banks, will protect the riverbank from wind and wave action and encourage the re-establishment of mangroves and saltmarsh, while riparian fencing will be erected to prevent stock from accessing the riverbank.

The project on the Wallamba River will also involve an innovative new method of riverbank stabilisation using reclaimed oyster shells from Wallis Lake which has the potential to develop into a fully functioning oyster reef.

This project will complement extensive works already undertaken by Council in the Wallamba River. To date, over 11 kilometres of riverbank has been stabilised since the adoption of the Lower Wallamba River Rivercare Plan in 2003.

Together with weed control and the replanting of native species within the riparian zone, these projects will result in the restoration of over 1.6 kilometres of eroding riverbank which will provide long term benefits for water quality and fish habitat.

OzFish has also been successful in gaining $27,800 in funding for a project on the lower Lansdowne River, which is being undertaken in partnership with Council, Hunter Local Land Services and a local landholder. The project will result in the restoration of 750 metres of eroding riverbank using coir logs and timber fillets, the replanting of 1,500 native species and the protection of three hectares of mangrove and saltmarsh habitat through stock exclusion fencing and weed control.

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