A joint collaborative initiative between the Sydney Institute of Marine Science and Macquarie and UNSW researchers appears promising in its aim to improve the ecological performance of seawalls and other marine build infrastructure. The Living Seawalls initiative partnered with Reef Design Lab, to develop habitat modules that can be attached to seawalls to increase habitat area and add missing microhabitats such as rockpools and crevices. So far in 2020, the team has installed new panels at several locations including Blues Point, Clontarf, Fairlight, and Rushcutters Bay complementing earlier installations at Milsons Point and McMahons Point.
Builders, developers and home renovators are more successfully implementing erosion and sediment controls on building sites to protect our local waterways, according to results from the recent Get the Site Right education and compliance campaign.
In June 2020, the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and 14 local councils inspected more than 600 sites across Sydney and the Central Coast. Almost three quarters (73%) of the sites inspected were compliant. This is compared to the May 2019 campaign where only 63% of sites inspected were managing their sites adequately.
A total of $189,484 in fines was issued to non-compliant sites. Offences ranged from no controls in place at all and unprotected soil stockpiles in locations where they could be washed away, to minor offences such as ruptured sediment bags and inadequate sweeping of roads and driveways.
See the results below!
Sediment runoff fills our creeks, rivers and harbours with dirt, soil, sand and mud. This leads to poorer water quality, affecting swimming and leisure activities in and around waterways. It also degrades aquatic habitats by smothering marine plants and animals. Sediment runoff can also block stormwater drains leading to flooding and overflows and erosion of creeks and riverbanks.
The improvement in compliance rates is encouraging in light of the increase in home renovation and DIY projects stemming from COVID-19 restrictions and introduction of government stimulus packages for builders and renovators.
SCCG Chair, Cr Lindsay Shurey, said that he was pleased by the growing number of builders and developers who were contributing to improving waterway health by preventing sediment runoff from leaving their sites and being washed into stormwater drains and out to our creeks and rivers.
“Reducing sediment and stormwater runoff is a key factor is a key factor in improving water quality in our region,” Cr Shurey said.
“We’re securing resilient and healthy coastal and estuarine environments that supports places for recreation, thriving ecosystems for plants and animals, tourism and business opportunities, and a more liveable city in these times of changing climate and urban heat.”
Now in its fifth year, the Get the Site Right campaign is a joint program between the Cooks River Alliance, Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), Georges Riverkeeper, Parramatta River Catchment Group (PRCG), Sydney Coastal Councils Group, local Sydney councils and Lake Macquarie Council.
Members of the public who may be out exercising near our waterways during these times, are encouraged to report pollution incidents, including poor sediment control, to their local council or the EPA’s 24/7 Environment Line on 131 555.
More information about the campaign and the importance of erosion and sediment control is available at:
The 2020 Greening our City grant program is now open!
This grant supports local councils and their partners to enhance urban tree canopy and green cover across Greater Sydney. Up to 12.5 million is available to fund new grants under two streams for tree planting projects and demonstration projects.
An information session is also being held on 22 July 2020 to provide details on eligibility and assessment criteria as well as provide guidance on how to use the online spatial tool. Click here to register.
See the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment page for further guidelines and supporting materials.
Please note that grant applications close on the 19 August 2020.
At the start of this month, the NSW Coastal Conference Organising Committee announced that this year’s conference would be postponed to 2021. However, the Committee is looking into an alternative option involving an online practitioner forum later this year with more details to come.
In the mean time, make sure to save the date of the NSW Coastal Conference in 2021!
3rd – 5th November 20201, Mantra on Salt Beach, Kingscliff. Co hosted by Byron Shire Council & Tweed Shire Council
Existing rules at Sydney’s aquatic reserves will continue as announced in the Aquatic Reserve Notification published in the Government Gazette of 17 April 2020. No changes have been made to the boundaries or rules of these aquatic reserves. The Aquatic Reserve Notification can be found here.
On 16 June, IPART released its Final Report on prices for Sydney Water services.
As was indicative in the draft IPART report and supported in the SCCG submission, $80M has been approved for Sydney Water in discretionary funding that comprises $62.7 for the wastewater treatment program at Diamond Bay and $22.4 for the Waterway Health Improvement Program (WHIP). The WHIP will deliver improved waterway health through stormwater management activities that will increase: the length of waterways in good health; areas of planted native vegetation; sets of recreation facilities; and the amount of rubbish and litter removed from Sydney waterways each year.
The final report on Sydney Water’s prices are available here.
The State’s first aquatic reserve is celebrating its 40th anniversary, as a pivotal resource for marine education for all!
NSW Department of Primary Industries Program Leader Marine Planning Rodney James said the Long Reef Aquatic Reserve, in Sydney’s northern beaches was declared in 1980, to protect rocky shore plants and animals (invertebrates and cunjevoi), after marine life became seriously depleted due to intensive collection for food and bait.
The area was protected for educational and scientific purposes, frequented by thousands of school children, university students and the public visiting the aquatic reserve each year to learn about intertidal animals and plants. It has also been a scientific research site for universities and the Australian Museum for over 70 years.
For more information on Long Reef Aquatic Reserve’s 40th birthday, or to see what you can do to get involved, visit Long Reef Aquatic Reserve celebrating 40 years.
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.
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 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.