Greater Sydney Harbour Coastal Management Program

Watch our education video to find out more about the Greater Sydney Harbour Coastal Management Program (GSHCMP) and how it can help improve catchment and waterway health for our iconic Harbour.

 

Purpose of a Coastal Management Program  

Under the Coastal Management Act 2016 (CM Act) councils may prepare Coastal Management Programs (CMPs) which set out the long-term strategy for the coordinated management of the coast, with a focus on achieving the objects and objectives of the CM Act.

CMPs identify coastal management issues in the area, the actions required to address these issues, and how and when those actions will be implemented. They detail costs and proposed cost-sharing arrangements and other viable funding mechanisms.

The CM Act (and other relevant legislation) establishes specific roles and responsibilities for relevant Ministers, the NSW Coastal Council, public authorities and local councils, as well as providing opportunities for communities to participate when preparing and implementing a CMP.

You can find out more detailed information about Catchment Management Programs here.

 

Greater Sydney Harbour Coastal Management Program (GSHCMP)

Greater Sydney Harbour is one of the world’s greatest harbours and as such is a state, national and global asset. It stretches from its upper tidal limits on the Parramatta River downstream to the ocean entrance between North and South Head. Its catchments are the home of 3.07 million people (projected to go to 4.35 million by 2041) and the region is responsible for around 25% of the nation’s GDP[1].

Greater Sydney Harbour is a magnet for tourists the world over and a source of great ecological diversity. Its waters are threatened by possible adverse impacts of population growth and development and potential impacts of climate change including sea-level rise and high magnitude catchment runoff.

At the centre of Australia’s largest city, the harbour is subject to intense human activity which presents coastal managers with many challenges. Understandably, developing and delivering a whole-of-catchment CMP will be a complex task with the project team currently working with 33 stakeholders to plan and deliver the GSHCMP. Buy-in and participation by all levels of government and the community is needed to achieve a strategic and coordinated management framework for the Harbour.

The Sydney Coastal Councils Group is the project manager for the GSHCMP. It will be whole-of-catchment and encompass Sydney Harbour tidal waterways and its catchment lands.

 

Current Governance Structure for the GSHCMP

The SCCG is the project manager for the GSHCMP project team, steering committee and partners group. Professor Bruce Thom from the NSW Coastal Council is the Chair.

The project team consists of members of the DPIE, NSW Coastal Council, Parramatta River Catchment Group (PRCG).

The Steering Committee assists in guiding the governance arrangements, cost sharing and development of the grant for the Greater Sydney Harbour CMP. It includes various state agency members, the SCCG, PRCG, Greater Sydney Commission, Transport NSW and Sydney Water.

The Partners Group assists the Steering Committee in ensuring appropriate consultation and collaboration across all relevant parties involved in the management and use of Sydney Harbour. The Partners Group largely comprises of local councils.

The Terms of Reference for the Steering Committee and Partners Group can be viewed here. For more information contact SCCG.

 

Our current stage in the CMP

There are generally five stages of a risk management process in preparing and implementing a CMP. The first stage is the preparation of a scoping study.

The Stage 1 Scoping Study for the GSHCMP was completed in 2018 and was a collaborative project with stakeholders from local and state government, Sydney Water and the Sydney Institute of Marine Sciences. The scoping study:

  • identifies opportunities for collaborative partnering in development of Sydney Harbour CMP
  • recommends whole-of-system approach
  • outlines a Preliminary Risk Assessment
  • provides a Forward Plan
  • details studies that will contribute to Stage 2.

The Sydney Harbour Water Quality Improvement Plan has also been completed and provides a strong base for the development of the GSHCMP.

 

The scope of the CMP

The Scoping Study outlined the scope of the GSHCMP and centres around four management areas defined in the Coastal Management Act 2016: wetlands and littoral rainforests, coastal use areas, coastal environment areas and coastal use areas. It encompasses the tidal waterways of Port Jackson, Parramatta River, Lane Cove River, Middle Harbour and their catchments.

The Scoping Study recommends a whole-of-system approach with a long-term vision to:

  • support the coordinated management and ecologically sustainable development of Greater Sydney Harbour to maintain its exceptional social, cultural, economic and environmental values, and symbolic status as Australia’s most globally iconic waterway.
  • the next stage (Stage 2), which will focus on coastal hazards and threats.

 

The importance of working together

A single, whole-of-system Coastal Management Program is needed to facilitate coordinated and integrated management of Australia’s most iconic and important waterway.

Local councils have a central role in managing the coast. The Sydney Coastal Councils Group promotes collaboration between member councils on environmental issues relating to the urban coastal and estuarine environment. We represent nearly 1.3 million Sydneysiders with six councils adjacent to Sydney marine and estuarine environments and associated waterways.

There are a host of benefits to working together in a holistic and integrated way as part of the Sydney Coastal Councils Group – improved environmental outcomes, improved capacity to address strategic and harbour-wide issues and interest, better communication, advocacy and promotion and efficiency savings to name a few.

Please contact SCCG if you’d like to join the many benefits of being a member council.

 

[1] https://www.sgsep.com.au/publications/insights/gdp-report-economic-performance-of-australias-cities-and-regions

Sydney Harbour, Courtesy of Department of Planning, Industry and Environment

Adapting Priority Coastal Recreational Infrastructure for Climate Change

The SCCG was successful in receiving a Building Resilience for Climate Change Grant in 2017 to fund the ‘Adapting Priority Coastal Recreational Infrastructure for Climate Change’ Project.

Coastal public recreational infrastructure can be highly vulnerable to the impacts of contemporary coastal hazards that will be exacerbated by climate change. These assets can receive large amounts of funding every year for reactive remediation and maintenance following damage. The outputs of this project will assist Councils in managing these recreational assets with respect to rising sea levels and other impacts of climate change.

The NSW Governments’ Manly Hydraulics Laboratory (MHL) and Engineers Australia through its National Committee on Coastal and Ocean Engineering (NCCOE) were engaged by SCCG to develop a decision framework for recreational coastal infrastructure assets which:
• implements NCCOE’s guidelines for coastal infrastructure asset management and planning;
• focuses on climate change vulnerability; and
• can be used as part of Council’s IP&R (Integrated Planning and Reporting) framework to help define maintenance/renewal costs and to establish triggers based on discounted future costs under a preselected adaptation strategy.

Based on the findings of a survey of NSW coastal councils, MHL developed an assessment methodology incorporating multi-criteria valuation assessment (MCA) to:
• design an assessment tool around targeting asset vulnerability to coastal hazards;
• establish an holistic approach to asset assessment; and
• support capital expenditure applications and an ability to accommodate varying levels of data availability.

Outputs from the tool can assist Councils to:
• determine strengths and weaknesses of a coastal recreational asset based on the dimensions of the MCA;
• indicate options and indicative costs for various adaptation strategies;
• set trigger levels for future adaptation work; and
• rank assets against others entered by the user to aid in prioritisation of resources.

To download the project Factsheet click on the image below.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The tool was tested on over ten recreational infrastructure assets within the local government areas of three NSW coastal councils. Three case studies have been developed using recreational assets including an urban rock pool, and urban coastal park and a rural estuarine jetty, to highlight the applicability of the tool.

Read the Case Studies Report for more information on the three case studies. To download click on the image below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This project was presented at the NSW Coastal Conference 7-9th November 2018.

The Assessment Tool is accessible for all NSW councils.  To download the excel based tool click here.

 

 

 

 

Protecting Sydney’s Wetlands

Introduction:

The Model Development Control Plan (DCP) – Protecting Sydney’s Wetlands was prepared by the SCCG in conjunction with the Protecting Wetlands Steering Committee. The Model DCP and the supporting resource folder provide Local Government and other development consent authorities with a generic model planning mechanism for consistent and coordinated protection and management of coastal wetlands.

The Model Development Control Plan (DCP) – Protecting Sydney’s Wetlands was prepared by the SCCG in conjunction with the Protecting Wetlands Steering Committee. The Model DCP and the supporting resource folder provide Local Government and other development consent authorities with a generic model planning mechanism for consistent and coordinated protection and management of coastal wetlands.

Purpose

The purpose of the Model DCP and the supporting management reference Assessment process material is to provide a template for consent authorities to develop their own consistent planning mechanisms to protect wetland systems. The purpose is to also provide clear information and advice to Council officer and developers. The generic instrument can be either simply adopted or incorporated into existing relevant planning instruments and easily amended where necessary to suit location conditions. The Model DCP was prepared as a whole of government initiative involving all spheres of government and research organisations.

Aims

  • To protect Sydney’s wetlands from inappropriate development by preventing and/or regulating developments that have the potential to fragment, pollute, disturb or diminish the values of wetlands.
  • To protect, restore and maintain ecological processes, natural systems and biodiversity within wetlands.
  • To encourage best practice land use planning and environmental design measures that enhance the sustainability of wetlands functions and values.
  • To provide clear information and advice to potential developers, consent authorities, landowners and residents on the requirements for information for development proposals affected by this DCP.
  • To improve the quality of wetland planning, management and education by encouraging developments (where appropriate) related to wetland education and identifying linkages between developments, environmental impacts and outcomes through education.
  • To improve compliance with other legislation, plans and policies related to wetland protection and management.

 

Model DCP: Protecting Sydney’s Wetlands

Resource Folder: Protecting Wetlands Resource Package

Appendices: Protecting Sydney Wetlands

Sydney Regional Coastal Management Strategic / Implementation Program

Introduction

The SRCMS provides an action-orientated management framework that is intended to guide coastal management and planning in the Sydney coastal region into the next century. The underlying focus of the strategy is the pursuit towards and achievement of ecologically sustainable development (ESD) of Sydney’s coastal zone.

The SRCMS recognises the fact that Sydney’s coastal zone is: continuously under intensive pressures from human activity; subject to a myriad of competing interests for its resources; and covered by numerous planning and management documents. It is managed by an assortment of State, Local and Commonwealth government authorities, industry, the community and a variety of non-government organisations. A single management strategy based on ESD provides an opportunity for all management and planning stakeholders to reconcile their competing interests and ensure an equitable, integrated and sustainable management approach. This will be achieved through the implementation of sustainable coastal planning and management practices that will ultimately protect and conserve terrestrial and marine ecosystems.

Aim and Objectives

The aim of the SRCMS is to protect and conserve terrestrial and marine ecosystems in the study area, and to manage the social and economic conditions to achieve this, through the implementation of identified, sustainable coastal planning and management practices.

Outcomes / Outputs

The associated Strategic Actions Program is intended to guide and priorities the management actions of the participating stakeholders. The implementation of the Strategic Actions Program is guided by the coastal management objectives and principles, with the underlying focus being the achievement of ecologically sustainable development.

The Strategic Actions Program focuses on the key themes that were identified throughout the community consultation and participation phases of the SRCMS’s development. These are:

  • WATER CYCLE MANAGEMENT
  • NATURE CONSERVATION
  • PUBLIC ACCESS
  • ROLE OF GOVERNMENT
  • CLIMATE CHANGE
  • CULTURAL HERITAGE

Each coastal management themes has an outcome statement to guide implementation and to focus on the overall desired management outcome for each of the six themes. A list of key regional issues is also provided for each coastal management theme. These have been identified by the regional community and all stakeholders involved in the preparation of the strategy.

The six management themes are further divided into key areas and issues that require a management response; these have been provided with a measurable outcome statement. Each strategic action includes the name of the organisation(s) that is primarily responsible for its implementation. The organisation(s) in bold is the core organisation responsible for coordinating other primary and supporting organisations and reporting annually on implementation. Those organisations listed as supporting organisations are to be consulted and involved in the implementation. Organisations with a primary responsibility are to work with supporting organisations to ensure a cooperative and focused approach to the implementation of the strategy. The priority components of the program have been divided into three levels: essential, highly desirable and desirable. Strategic actions determined to be essential will be addressed and acted on within the first 12 months of implementation. Highly desirable within the first two years and desirable within the first five years of implementation.

An electronic copy of the Sydney Regional Coastal management Strategy can be accessed here.

Sydney Regional Coastal Management Strategy, 1998

Landslide Risk Management: Geotechnical Investigations

Introduction

In recognition of the challenge between development pressures and landslide hazard, in the year 2000 the Australian Geomechanics Society (AGS) published a benchmark technical paper “Landslide Risk Management Concepts and Guidelines” (AGS, 2000) – which significantly updated an earlier 1985 guideline. It was recommended in the report of the Coroner’s Inquiry into the 1997 Thredbo landslide that AGS (2000) be taken into account – through directions in the Building Code of Australia and local codes dealing with planning, development and building approval procedures – when assessing and planning urban communities in hillside environments.

Whilst AGS (2000) presented concepts and guidelines to assist practitioners, there remained a need to provide supplemental information to further assist practitioners, to assist regulators and to provide advice to the broader Australian population. This was recognised by the SCCG who in turn submitted a successful grant application under the NSW and Commonwealth Governments’ National Disaster Mitigation Program.

Outcomes / Outputs

The project(s) are intimately related to management of risk associated with landslides in all parts of Australia, covering sloping terrain generally and with applicability to the coastal and near-coastal environment. The project involved the development of two guidelines, two commentaries and a suite of GeoGuides. These provide assistance variably to regulators, practitioners and owners and occupiers of property and land potentially subject to landslide hazards.

  1. The Landslide Zoning Guideline covers landslide susceptibility, hazard and risk zoning for land use planning. It provides guidance to government regulators (officers of local government and state government instrumentalities) and geotechnical practitioners in the methods of Landslide Hazard Zoning. Such characterisation provides input to the land use planning process in areas of landslide hazard. This guideline is supported an associated commentary document.
  2. The Slope Management Guideline – known as the Australian GeoGuides for Slope Management and Maintenance – provides owners and occupiers, and therefore the public in the broader sense, with guidance on management and maintenance of properties subject to landslide hazard. These two guidelines are important contributions to the management of landslide hazard at both ends of the process – initial identification of landslide hazard in the planning process, and management of properties prone to landslide hazard by the end-user.
  3. The guidelines benefit the general community (Australian GeoGuides) and Local Government regulators (Landslide Zoning) through achieving safer, more sustainable communities in relation to their exposure to landslide risk, and reduce risk to the community through improved planning and slope management practices. These guidelines link with the risk management practices presented in AGS (2000) and the recently published Building Code of Australia (BCA) Guideline, and will provide long-term natural disaster mitigation benefits to housing and infrastructure.

The LRM Practice Note provides guidance to practitioners in the performance of project specific landslide risk assessment and management, and also to government officers in interpretation of the reports they receive. The Practice Note is suited to be an external reference document for legislative requirements. The Practice Note supersedes the recognised industry “standard” on LRM in Australia – AGS (2000).

The guidance provided by the Practice Note is of a technical nature and is mainly for the geotechnical practitioner for the production of landslide risk assessment and management for development in areas prone to landslide hazard. This includes guidance on appropriate methods and techniques, and tolerable levels of risk. Currently, an acceptable level of risk to life for the individual most-at-risk is reasonably well identified, though perhaps conservatively so. As a result of a number of issues, there has been no similar guidance for risk to property, which is now provided in the Practice Note.

Project Awards

Warren Medal – Civil Collage

In early 2008 the SCCG and Australian Geomechanics Society Landslide Risk Management Project was awarded the prestigious Warren Medal the premier award of the Civil College.

Australian Safer Communities Awards 2008

“AGS (2007)” was submitted for judging in the Australian Safer Communities Awards 2008 in the category of “Projects of National Significance”. The project received a ‘High Commendation’. Award winners are recognised “throughout the emergency management sector for their outstanding achievement, innovation and professional standing”.

 

Guideline for Landslide Susceptibility, Hazard and Risk Zoning for Land Use Management

Commentary on Guideline for Landslide Susceptibility, Hazard and Risk Zoning for Land Use Management

Landslide Practice Note – Practice Note Guidelines for Landslide Risk

Journal of Emergency Management in Australia, Landslide Risk Management for Australia.

Australian GeoGuides for Slope Management and Maintenance

Australian GeoGuide on Landslides

Australian GeoGuide on Soil Slopes

Australian GeoGuide on Rock Slopes

Australian GeoGuide on Water and Drainage

Australian GeoGuide on Retaining Walls

Australian GeoGuide on Landslide Risk

Australian GeoGuide on Hillside Construction

Australian GeoGuide on Effluent and Surface Water Disposal

Australian GeoGuide on Coastal Landslides

Australian GeoGuide on Record Keepings

Antifouling Technologies for Coastal Pools and Platforms

Introduction:

The SCCG Member Councils face a continual challenge from settlement and growth of marine organisms (“fouling”) on coastal rock pools and platforms. The challenge arises from public health and safety concerns (and associated Council liability) for bathers who can slip on fouled surfaces. Approaches used to date primarily include mechanical cleaning and various biocides, particularly chlorine based bleaches. The use of the latter is constrained by significant concerns over non-target effects as the chlorine washes from platforms/pools into the marine environment more generally.

Mechanical cleaning has also not proved satisfactory because even very frequent cleaning is not sufficient to prevent fouling. This is not particularly surprising, given that microfouling – bacteria, diatoms, other microalgae – can form a slippery layer of slime with a day or two. These and other approaches to the problem are detailed in the SCCG’s 1996 discussion paper, “Finding suitable options for cleaning Sydney’s estuarine tidal baths & ocean rock pools for use by local governments”.

An alternative approach is to use antifouling coatings that can be applied to pool or platform surfaces. Most standard ship antifouling coatings are inappropriate, as they rely on toxic actives (typically heavy metals or organic biocides) for their activity, or on “non-stick” (foul release) properties, which would only exacerbate the problem of slippery surfaces.

In 2008, the SCCG contracted Centre for Marine Bio-Innovation Algae samples(University of New South Wales) to undertake the above mentioned project. This project was made possible with funding contributions from the NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water, Randwick and Sutherland Councils together with the SCCG.

Outcomes / Outputs

The research project identified and trialed alternative approaches to maintaining safe coastal pools and platforms applying antifouling coatings to affected areas to reduce or eliminate the needs for continual mechanical cleaning. Test sites where selected in partner Council areas based on a range of slip hazards and environments found along the coastline Coatings from three commercial suppliers and UNSW were assessed over three separate periods (Mar-June 2009, August-Sept 2009 and Dec 2009-Feb 2010).

Results found that two coatings in combination with modified cleaning practices are recommended for commercial scale trials on pedestrian access points anticipating subsequent take up of these technologies. When these coatings are combined with the recommended modified cleaning practices the following improvements are expected:
For submerged steps and ramps:

For submerged steps and ramps:

  • Algae prevented from growing for at least 2 – 4 weeks compared to the current 2-7 days after cleaning.
  • Algae can be easily cleaned from the SW-Mat by hand without emptying pool water compared to the current requirement to emptying the pool and cleaning with a truck-mounted high pressure jet blaster.
  • The risk of slipping is significantly reduced.

For exposed platforms and walkways (such as Clovelly promenade):

  • Algae prevented from growing for at least 12 weeks compared to the current 3-4 weeks after cleaning.
  • The requirement for a truck-mounted water ‘jet-blast’ is significantly reduced.
  • The risk of slipping is significantly reduced.

 

FINAL REPORT:

Anti-fouling for NSW Coastal Pools and Platforms

Attachment 2: Field Trial Report

 

Todd Walton, Antifouling technologies for coastal pools and platforms and community responses (Honours Thesis).

Beach Sand Nourishment Scoping Study: Maintaining Sydney’s Beach Amenity Against Climate Change Sea Level Rise

Introduction:

In order to address the issues of continual shoreline erosion in these “at threat” sites to a point where decision makers can commit long-term physical and financial resources, it is essential to understand the environmental, physical and economical needs and feasibility of utilising offshore marine sand source for beach nourishment purposes. The task of assessing the feasibility of these aspects is detailed and complex and seeks to advance government policy on the potential use off marine resources of sand for nourishment purposes.

In 2008 the SCCG in partnership with its project Steering Committee obtained support under the Natural Disaster Mitigation Program to undertake this study.

Aim and Objectives

This study aims to provide a significant knowledge and resource base on these issues and develop the strategic framework and direction for addressing identified data gaps, further studies (as may be required) and data collection requirements necessary for the respective Greater Metropolitan Region councils to make more fully informed decisions on the feasibility of pursuing offshore marine sources of sand to satisfy requirements for artificial sand nourishment.

Scope of Work

The study focuses in detail on the application of sand nourishment to the proposed case study sites: Collaroy / Narrabeen, Manly and Bate Bay (Cronulla) beaches; but also provides generic consideration of sand nourishment requirements in other areas of the Greater Metropolitan Region facing immediate threat including: Pittwater LGA – Bilgola Beach; Gosford LGA: Wamberal, North Avoca and Terrigal beaches; Newcastle LGA: Stockton Beach. Similarly the study provides a generic assessment of the sand nourishment requirements to offset the loss of recreational amenity within the Sydney Greater Metropolitan Region open coast beaches from projected rise in mean sea level due to climate change.

This scoping study looked at the information, data currently available in relation to the environmental, physical, social and economic aspects of utilising these available sands to meet immediate and medium term requirements of the adopted strategies for these beach environments. The study provides a significant knowledge and resource base on these issues and developed the strategic framework and direction for addressing identified data gaps, further studies, data collection requirements and methodologies necessary to implement such a formal proposal to Government(s).


 

 

 

 

 

 

Beach Sand Nourishment Scoping Study – Maintaining Sydney’s beach Amenity Against Climate Change Sea level Rise

Media Release

Frequently Asked Questions

Facts and Figures

Assessment and Decision Frameworks for Seawall Structures Project

In July 2011, the Sydney Coastal Councils Group (SCCG) was awarded funding under the Coastal Adaptation Decision Pathways Project (CAP) for three projects- (1) “Prioritising Coastal Adaptation and Development Options for Local Government”; (2) “Demonstrating Climate Change Adaptation of Interconnected Water Infrastructure Project” and; (3) “Assessment and Decision frameworks for Existing Seawalls”. Funding has been provided by the Australian Government represented by the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency. The Coastal Adaptation Decision Pathways projects is an Australian Government Initiative. A Newsletter covering all three projects is available here.

This project, “Assessment and Decision frameworks for Existing Seawalls”, assists Local and State Governments to evaluate the robustness and condition of existing small seawalls for coastal climate change protection and outline possible options for further upgrades.

Seawalls and protection structures exist at many locations where construction details are unknown and the capacity of the structures to withstand existing storm and inundation events is not well understood. Where coastal protection is deemed the most appropriate management option, the state of existing seawalls and other protection structures is an important consideration. Sea wall asset owners and managers (usually Local Governments) are faced with determining development applications in areas protected by structures of unknown quality and origin (some approved and some not). Frequently there is conflict between the coastal managers and the community who have varying impressions of their effectiveness.

The project has produced Part A: Synthesis Report (3.8MB) based on individual reports prepared by subject specialists.

A separate Part B. Appendices include:

 

A forum held at Rockdale Council, provided presentations on all aspects of the project, and an open Q&A followed by a ‘hypothetical’ to explore the complex issues involved in managing existing seawalls.

The project is being delivered in partnership between the SCCG, Coastal Environment Pty Ltd, Griffith University Centre for Coastal Management and the Water Research Laboratory (UNSW). Click here to learn more.