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.

Connected Corridors for Biodiversity

Updates to the Habitat Corridor Map have now been made for 2020!

 

The map is just one of the tools developed for the Connected Corridors for Biodiversity Program (CCB) which aims to assist Councils to facilitate increased habitat connectivity across the highly urbanized project area, to thereby increase resilience of biodiversity to climate change and other threats. Urbanization has been recognized as the greatest threat to biodiversity globally but also, urban biodiversity contributes significant to the health and well-being of urban residents. In particularly, urban biodiversity has been found to contribute to improved sleep, stress reduction and the improve recovery and rehabilitation from illness and injury.

 

The CCB habitat corridor map was produced to identify land that should be prioritised for on-ground works to improve habitat connectivity across the project area. The map is reviewed and updated annually to ensure the spatial data is up to date and can continue to inform biodiversity and bush land management works.

 

The CCB was funded by the Australian Government through the Sydney Coastal Councils Group (SCCG) Sydney’s Salty Communities program, and has been implemented by the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC) in collaboration with Greater Sydney Local and Services (GS LLS).

 

A link to the map can be found here!

 

Aftermath of a wild fire

New Grant for Bushfire Affected Coastal Waterways

The NSW Government recently announced a one off-funding stream under the Coastal and Estuary Grants Program to enable local councils to implement urgent actions to minimise and mitigate the impacts of the bushfires on sensitive estuary and coastal ecosystems.

 

There is $5 million available for bushfire affected coastal waterways and the grants are available at 100% funding. Types of projects that can be funding include sediment and erosion control actions, dune management and restoration, estuarine foreshore restoration, littoral rain forest and coastal wetland restoration. Also please not that the action for which funding is sought is not required to be identified n Councils certified Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP), Emergency Action Sub-Plan or a certified Coastal Management Program (CMP).

 

The grants are currently open and will close on 20 March 2020, or until the funds have been allocated. Guidelines and application forms can be found here.

SCCG Strategic Plan 2019-2020

Sydney Coastal Councils Group is proud to present the SCCG Strategic Plan 2019-2019. This document consists of a new vision and sets our six goals which set to provide value for members and enhance and protect the coastal and estuarine environment.

This Strategic Plan was developed to align with key strategic documents developed by our member Councils and key stakeholders.  The Plan seeks to align with relevant legislation, policies and agreements including the Greater Sydney Commission’s Metropolis of Three Cities and District Plans; Coastal Management Act; Marine Estate Management Act and Australia’s obligations relating to biodiversity. The Plan also includes an evaluation of effectiveness and timely delivery of its strategies in alignment with local government’s Integrated Planning and Reporting Framework.

SCCG is confident in the suitably of this document to provide benefit to all key stakeholders and to appropriately manage the coastal and estuarine environment under the unprecedented changes set to occur in our coastal community and government services over the next decade.

 

The SCCG Strategic Plan 2019-2029 can be found here.

 

Media Release – 2 May 2019

Regulating Run-off: Polluters Targeted During May Inspection Blitz

Building sites that fail to control their runoff will be in the firing line this month as the Get the Site Right campaign gets underway.

The Get the Site Right compliance and education campaign will last throughout May, with council and EPA officers targeting erosion and sediment control on building and construction sites across Sydney and the Central Coast.

The campaign aims to improve the health of local waterways and has a firm target of making Parramatta River swimmable by the year 2025.

The campaign has grown in size and industry awareness each year. It is a joint initiative between the Parramatta River Catchment Group (PRCG), the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), Cooks River Alliance, Georges River Riverkeeper, Sydney Coastal Councils Group, Department of Planning & Environment, and over 20 councils.

EPA Regional Director Metropolitan Giselle Howard said Get the Site Right is focused on minimising environmental harm.

“Everybody wants a local place to swim, and the Get the Site Right campaign is part of that push to make rivers and waterways swimmable,” Ms Howard said.

“Up to four truckloads of soil from a building site can be washed away in a single storm, damaging vital aquatic ecosystems, so it is crucial that developers are putting the right control systems in place. “While Get the Site Right is a targeted compliance blitz that will include the issuing of fines, we are focused on is prevention as the cure; we want developers and builders to stop the sediment leaving their site boundaries in the first place, by putting the appropriate erosion and sediment controls in place.”

Campaigns such as Get the Site Right play an important role in raising awareness about the many ways industry and the community can help us to achieve a clean and safe river.

In the May 2018 campaign, 50 per cent of sites were compliant with the sediment run-off prevention measures, and a total of $212,412 in fines was issued from 746 site inspections.

Why is sediment runoff from constructions sites a problem? Sediment spills affect our environment and waterways in a number of ways, including:

  • Destroys aquatic habitats and smothers native plants and animals that live in our waterways.
  • Directly pollutes creeks, river and harbours by filling them with dirt, soil, sand and mud. This leads to poorer water quality, affecting swimming or leisure activities in and around our waterways.
  • Blocks stormwater drains leading to flooding and overflows.
  • Erodes creek and river banks.
  • Causes health and safety risks such as slippery roads and tripping hazards.

Members of the public can report pollution incidents, including poor sediment control, to the EPA’s 24/7 Environment Line on 131 555. More information on erosion and sediment control is available at: www.ourlivingriver.com.au/getthesiteright

 

Data Collection on Flying-Fox Heat Stress

Data is being collected to better understand the impacts of heat-stress on flying-fox species and to build a repository of flying-fox heat stress events.  If you have information on a local flying-fox camp that has been affected by heat-stress (past or present) please complete the Flying-fox heat stress data form developed by Western Sydney University, Melbourne University, CSIRO and Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

SCCG Media Release – 11 December 2018

Endangered Shorebirds Threatened by Dogs on Protected Beaches:

Endangered shorebirds in the Sydney region are being threatened by irresponsible pet owners illegally allowing their pets onto protected beaches.  Some of Sydney’s beaches provide vital habitat for species such as the threatened Little Penguin and the Pied Oystercatcher. Dogs are a key risk to these birds which can disturb nests, maim and even kill adults and their young.

Sydney Coastal Councils Group (SCCG) represents nine estuarine and coastal councils in Sydney and supports these councils to have biodiverse, clean and healthy waterways. Sarah Joyce from the SCCG says that “we are urging the public to obey signs on beaches which identify if there are any restrictions to public access”.  Dogs are prohibited on the majority of beaches in the Sydney region – if you see dogs on protected beaches, please call your Council ranger immediately”.

The endangered Little Penguin population in Manly has been previously decimated by foxes.  Important habitat for this species is located in Little Manly and the beaches of North Head.

Volunteer penguin wardens regularly patrol beaches in Manly to ensure the public is aware of the rules that operate in Little Penguin habitat. They have been extremely disappointed to see that some owners are allowing their dogs on protected beaches. “The presence or even smell of dogs on these beaches deters penguins from going to their nests which means that their chicks are not fed. We have also had examples of dogs on beaches killing penguins” said Sally Garman, who is the Manly penguin warden coordinator.

In the Sutherland Shire, members of the Southcoast Shorebirds Recovery Group, Sutherland Council and others have been working diligently to save the Pied Oystercatcher at Maianbar. There are only 250 birds remaining in NSW and key threats to this species include predation by dogs and trampling of nests by humans.

SCCG has been lobbying the NSW Government to strengthen protection for both the Little Penguin and Pied Oystercatcher as part of the NSW Government’s proposal for a marine park in Sydney and through initiatives outlined in the Marine Estate Management Strategy

 

SCCG Media Release – 28 November 2018

Concerns Over Water Pollution Impacts from Tunnel Construction:

 

Councillor Lynne Saville, Chair of the Sydney Coastal Councils Group (SCCG) has reported that “some Councillors from its member councils are concerned there may be adverse environmental impacts on water quality in the Sydney and Middle Harbours as a result of construction work associated with the Western Harbour Tunnel and Northern Beaches Link Tunnel”. SCCG represents 9 estuarine and coastal councils in Sydney and support our councils to have clean and healthy waterways.

“It is vital that rigorous controls and safeguards are put in place to reduce any impacts upon our beautiful waterways”, says Saville.

Many have already expressed concerns over pollution, dust from construction spoil and contaminants may affect catchments and harbour water quality. As previously reported, “there is risk of adverse effects from proposed dredging on water quality and wildlife in the waters of Middle Harbour, which is likely to affect residents’ ability to use Northbridge Baths“. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-12/western-harbour-toll-construction-to-produce-toxicity-study/9537082

SCCG supports its member Councils to achieve important water quality objectives that enable safe swimming at Sydney’s harbour and coastal beaches. It is currently working with the NSW Government to deliver a coastal management program (CMP) for Sydney Harbour which was recently announced by the Minister for the Environment Gabrielle Upton MP (https://www.nsw.gov.au/news-and-events/news/nsw-beaches-cleanest-in-a-decade/).

A CMP for Sydney Harbour will set the long-term strategy for the coordinated management of the coast with a focus on achieving the objectives of the Coastal Management Act 2018. These objectives include protecting and enhancing scenic value, biological diversity and ecosystem integrity and resilience.

 

Coastal Management – Delegation visits SCCG

On 4th October 2018, SCCG welcomed a delegation from India; including Suresh Chandra Mahapatra and Prasanta Kumar Panigraphy from the Government of Odisha, and Anuja Sukhla from IPE Global Ltd.  The delegation met with the SCCG to discuss coastal management in NSW, coastal processes, challenges local councils face in finding solutions to sustainable manage the coast and in sharing of costs to undertake works. The delegation shared information about their community, largely fisherman as stakeholders that are dependent on the coast for their livelihood.

The delegation also undertook a site visit to Collaroy/Narrabeen led by Craig Morrison from Northern Beaches Council, which provided firsthand experience of the beach and coastal hazards and management challenges faced by a local council and its community.

2017-18 State of the Beaches Report

The annual State of the Beaches Report 2017/18 has been released by Beachwatch. The State of the Beaches reports on water quality of swimming locations within ocean and harbour beaches across NSW.

According to the NSW News published on 19 October, 85% of the state’s swimming sites have been rated as good or very good for the first time since 2010.

The NSW News provides a summary from the report as follows:

  • 90 per cent of the 97 Sydney region swimming sites tested rated good or very good with improved water quality at seven sites and decreased scores at only four.
  • 78 per cent of the 18 North Coast swimming sites rated good or very good with two downgraded.
  • 84 per cent of the 38 Hunter region swimming sites rated good or very good with improvements at seven sites.
  • 53 per cent of the 32 Central Coast sites rated good or very good – a decline from the previous year due to changes in the monitoring program rather than water quality.
  • 100 per cent of the 21 Illawarra beaches rated good or very good with improved water quality at one beach.
  • 100 per cent of the 35 South Coast region sites rated good or very good with two sites showing decreased water quality.
  • 81% of estuarine swimming sites are listed as goof or very good.

Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said “while these figures are welcome, they also show there is still work to be done, as according to the report, coastal lakes, lagoons and estuarine swimming spots were adversely affected by heavy rainfall”.

Download a copy of the State of the Beaches Report here.

To read more about the Beachwatch program and to find out about the daily pollution forecasts for your local beach click here.