New NSW Coastal Council

On 8 May 2020, Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock issued a media release to announce the appointment of the new NSW Coastal Council.

Ms Annelise Tuor has been appointed as the Chair, with out-going Chair Bruce Thom continuing on as a member of the Council.

Of the 7 positions held by the Council, 4 are newly appointed Council members. The new Coastal Council includes:

  • Ms Annelise Tuor
  • Dr Kate Brooks
  • Ms Pam Dean-Jones
  • Emeritus Professor Bruce Thom
  • Mr Martijn Gough
  • Dr Hannah Power
  • Dr Shay Simpson

The significant contributions of outgoing Council members was acknowledged by Minister Hancock.

The SCCG wishes to congratulate new members and looks forward to continuing it’s close collaboration with these appointees.

Recently Released Inner West Guidelines: Green Walls, Roofs and Facades

SCCG Member Council, Inner West, is proud to announce the release of their Green Roofs, Walls and Facades Technical Guidelines!

The Guidelines provide technical advice to support the installation of green roofs, walls and facades in the Inner West. They aim to increase the uptake of vertical greening in the LGA to improve liveability and resilience. The Guidelines also contain information and tools including checklists and design specification guidance to help those interested to understand, plan, design and construct green roofs, walls and facades.

SCCG are delighted to see its release, which will hopefully promote greater uptake of environmentally beneficial designs.

The Guidelines are now publicly available on Councils website. Well done to Inner West for all their hard work and success.

Operation Turbo Reef: Crackdown on Illegal Fishing

Operation Turbo Reef has so far seized 6,251 marine invertebrates and issued $63,000 in fines over the Australia Day long weekend. This initiative of NSW Department of Primary Industries Fisheries Compliance Unit is designed to target illegal shellfish collection in the Sydney metropolitan region. This year, the operation tasked a new mobile squad to specifically target compliance in Intertidal Protected Areas (IPAs) and Aquatic Reserves due to their high community value for biodiversity and as sites for education and research.

Fortunately, of the 6,251 invertebrates collected, including cockles, abalone, turban snails, lobster and octopus, the vast majority were returned to the water alive. It’s urged that the public remain vigilant and report any illegal activity to ensure our coastal ecosystems can continue to flourish.

 

Anyone with information on illegal activity is encouraged to call the Fishers Watch line on 1800 043 536 or lodge a report here.

COVID-19 and Ocean Pools

 

Updated advice has been received from NSW Health regarding ocean pools.

From 15 May, swimming in outdoor pools is permitted where there are no more than 10 people allowed in the pool. Users must maintain physical distancing of 1.5 metres.

Please refer to the NSW Health and NSW Government’s COVID-19 website for updates here.

 

 

“The public health order issued 30 March 2020 requires the closure of indoor and outdoor recreational facilities, including tennis courts, ocean pools“.

 

On Wednesday 25 March, SCCG provided the following advice to its member councils, after consulting with NSW Health on the safe use of ocean pools and baths.

NSW Health stated that at this stage, the risk of contracting COVID-19 through swimming in ocean pools/baths is considered low as the COVID-19 virus is unlikely to survive for long periods in salt water.

However, people using ocean baths are advised to

  • stay at home if sick
  • stay at home if you have been asked by health authorities to self-isolate
  • do not swim if you have had diarrhoea
  • shower with soap before swimming
  • minimise time spent out of the pool
  • comply with social distancing (try to keep 1.5 metres from other people as much as possible)
  • comply with protective measures when in the change rooms and outside the pool (clean your hands, cover coughs and sneezes)
  • follow the usual health advice to avoiding swimming for least 1 day after rain
  • try to attend when the pool is less busy

Councils were also advised that baths should regularly be cleaned.

In this unprecedented time, SCCG is seeking to achieve a regional approach to minimise the potential health risk associated with coastal and estuarine environments.

SCCG would like to thank NSW Health for their ongoing assistance to help protect our members councils and their broader community.

Please note, this advice is current as of Wednesday 25 March. Any further advice on public gathering and social distancing may change in the future.

Western Harbour Tunnel and Warringah Free Upgrade Submission

SCCG was recently invited to prepare a submission on the proposed Western Harbour Tunnel and Warringah Freeway upgrade. While SCCG recognises the need to provide for additional road network and improvement connectivity to alleviate Sydney’s traffic congestion, the submission raised three primary concerns, it wishes to alleviate. This includes:

  1. The potential public health risk associated with disturbance of toxic sediments on the harbour floor. SCCG recommended for this to be appropriately managed and monitored.
  2. Impact on marine biodiversity through the mobilisation of toxic sediment which could effect availability and suitability of food sources for several threatened species. Due to potential affects to intertidal rocky shore habitats, SCCG recommended for these areas be rehabilitated and restored.
  3. Finally, highlighting the impact on micro bats as several roost sites of the Eastern Bent-wing Bat (a listed threatened species) are located in the project sitting. SCCG would like to see a more detailed threatened species assessment be undertaken as well as ensuring the project complies with the Commonwealth’s National Light Pollution Guidelines for Wildlife which highlights the effect artificial light has on micro bat species.

SCCG welcomes further opportunities to provide comment on the proposed project in the future.

A copy of the submission can be found here and under the ‘Advocacy Submissions’ tab of our website.

‘New Look’ Technical Committee

As you may know, SCCG are dedicated to delivering quarterly technical committee meetings where council staff get together to exchange information, collaborate on current and emerging needs and develop regional projects and programs directly related to coastal and estuarine management.

In consultation with its members, SCCG has decided to theme our Technical Committees to ensure we can attract specialised staff across all council divisions including strategic planners, environmental officers, engineers and sustainability educators.

Our next Technical Committee meeting on 21 May 2020 will be themed around biodiversity!

For this meeting, SCCG are excited to announce that Commonwealth representatives from the Biodiversity Conservation Division of the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment will be hosting a webinar on the National Light Pollution Guidelines for Wildlife, due to be finalised in 2020. This webinar will be made available to all SCCG member council staff.

MEMA : FAQ for Local Government

The Marine Estate Management Authority (MEMA) has released a ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ pamphlet specifically for local governments. The FAQ includes an overview of the Marine Estate Management Strategy as well as providing a guide on how to integrate the strategy with a Coastal Management Program. Finally, a MEMA organisation structure is provided along with key contacts that can assist councils with their CMP integration.

 

The FAQ can be found at the Marine Estate Management Authority website, or alternatively, can be downloaded here.

Climate Change in Estuaries

A multi-disciplinary team led by researchers from UNSW and Macquarie University is releasing the first large-scale summary of how our estuaries – and the 80 per cent of NSW residents living on them – will be impacted by climate change.

The research sets to address the complexity surrounding the assessment of impacts and effects of climate change in estuaries. To do this, researchers have developed a multi-report guide designed for estuarine management, scientists, practitioners and coastal communities.

The guide consists of 8 module reports that cover the relevant climate, ocean and ecosystem science along with best practice frameworks for prioritising climate risks in estuaries. These modules are designed to be read together or independently and are freely available online.

The research was funded under the Coastal Node, an initiative led by the Sydney Institute of Marine Science to improve the knowledge base of impact assessment, risk management and adaptation responses of local communities and councils in the coastal zone.

Further information and links to the modules can be found here.

2020 Funding Guide

The Sydney Coastal Councils Group (SCCG) Funding Guide is produced and updated annually to assist Member Councils and other Stakeholders in identifying funding opportunities to support the management and protection of Sydney’s coastal and estuarine environments. The Guide provides a wide-ranging and structured list of funding opportunities available to councils and other stakeholders in a single resource. The production of the Funding Guide is part of the SCCG Capacity Building Program that builds the role and capacity of Member Councils and other stakeholders to sustainably manage urban coastal and estuarine environments.

In addition to this Guide, the SCCG will continue to publish upcoming grant opportunities here in its monthly update on the SCCG Website.

A copy of the Funding Guide is available to SCCG Member Councils in the ‘Members Area’ of our website.

Sand Management Working Group

The Sand Management Working Group has now been re-established!

The Working Group was previously established in 2007 to provide advice, direction and assistance to advance the application of broad scale regional beach nourishment program(s) in Sydney. In 2019, it was identified that key issues faced by councils in regard to coastal erosion was still of concern, and approval was therefore given to re-establish the Working Group.

Sand Management, in particular beach nourishment, has been recognised as a potential adaptive option to offset the adverse impacts of seal level rise and increasing storm intensity on coastal assets including the retention of public beaches. (Gordon, 2009 ‘The Potential for Offshore Sand Sources to Offset Climate Change Impacts on Sydney’s Beaches’). The potential devastating impacts are evident from the 2016 ‘D Day Storm’ which moved 410,000m3 of sand from the Collaroy-Narrabeen beach alone during this time. Several other councils are also experiencing beach erosion and, in some areas, unwanted beach accretion which also has an impact on private and public assets.

In November 2019, SCCG held it’s first meeting of the Working Group with representatives from member and non-member councils, NSW Coastal Council and the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment to identify priority issues, workshop solutions and commit to regular meetings. A presentation was also given by Angus Gordon OAM, NSW Coastal Council, highlighting potential sources of sand, benefits and costs of beach nourishment works and a possible way forward for program implementation.

A copy of the outcomes report of this meeting and presentation given by Angus Gordon OAM is available for member councils in the ‘members area’ of the SCCG website.