Greater Sydney Harbour Regional Litter Prevention Strategy

The Sydney Coastal Councils Group (SCCG) and Parramatta River Catchment Group (PRCG) have been successful in securing a $90,000 grant from the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) in the Own It and Act: Round 6 Community Litter Grant funding stream.

The grant will fund the development of a Regional Litter Prevention Strategy (RLPS) for the Greater Sydney Harbour catchment. Over the next five years, the strategy aims to reduce litter to Greater Sydney Harbour including the Parramatta and Lane Cove Rivers by 50 per cent.

The strategy will create a unified and coordinated approach to litter prevention across the Greater Sydney Harbour catchments, by establishing clear actions and programs that can be embedded in all participating councils and community organisations.

Work on the strategy will commence early 2021.

Get the Site Right

Get the Site Right is a joint taskforce between the Parramatta River Catchment Group, Cooks River Alliance, Georges River Combined Councils Committee, Sydney Coastal Councils Group, Lake Macquarie Council, NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), and Department of Planning and Environment, and more than 20 Sydney councils. We are working together to target developers and enforce best practice on commercial and residential building sites, as well as major infrastructure projects, to protect our waterways and surrounding environments.

Why should you care about erosion and sediment control on building sites?

The suburbs around Sydney’s waterways are booming. Our growing population and need for more housing, schools, roads and other amenities has seen a rise in new residential and commercial developments and construction, as well as increased public expectation for a quality, local waterway which we can safely use for leisure activities.

Did you know that up to four truckloads of soil from a building site can be washed away in a single storm if not properly contained? If sediment such as soil, sand, dirt and mud are not properly managed on building sites they can directly pollute our river and cause severe environmental problems, making it less safe for people to use.

How does sediment spills affect our environment and waterways?

  • Directly pollutes our 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.
  • Destroys aquatic habitats and smothers native plants and animals that live 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

There are rules that developers need to follow to contain and manage sediment on their work site in a responsible manner. It is against the law to breach these rules. Local councils and the NSW Environment Protection Authority have the power to issue penalties from $8000 to $15,000 for each incident.

Home builders and renovators

If you are building or renovating a home, submission of an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan is required before works begin. Ensure your builders are adhering to the rules. For more information, click here or contact your local council or the NSW Environment Protection Authority for further consultation.

Developers and builders

If you are a developer or managing a building site, download a quick summary of the facts or consult the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage’s ‘Blue Book’ for detailed rules and guidelines.

WE ALL HAVE A PART TO PLAY IN PROTECTING SYDNEY’S WATERWAYS.

Report all pollution incidents to the NSW Environment Line on 131 555 or contact your local council.

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.

 

 

 

 

Phytopthora Working Group

Introduction:

Phytophthora cinnamomi is a soil-borne water mould that produces an infection which causes a condition in plants called “root rot” or “dieback”. The plant pathogen is one of the world’s most invasive species and is present in over 70 countries from around the world.

Aim and Objectives

The SCCG was a member of the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust’s Phytophthora Working Group. The working group was formed in response to a number of localised Phytophthora outbreaks around the Sydney Harbour region and consisted of Local, State and Commonwealth Government land managers in the Sydney Harbour region.

Outcomes / Outputs

Studies were undertaken to determine where Phytophthora was occurring and what actions could be taken to control it. Following this a management strategy was developed and implemented that included the following actions:

  • An education campaign to inform people how they could prevent the spread of the pathogen.
  • Guidelines for the design and construction of walking tracks, including boot cleaning stations at entry and exit points.
  • Implementation of best practice procedures for people undertaking bush regeneration activities.
  • Mapping and monitoring infected and uninfected areas and dieback.
  • New plantings with Phytophthora resistant species in infected areas.

 

Regional Implementation Strategy for Water Quality / Environmental Monitoring

http://www.monitor2manage.com.au/

A web-based toolkit and guide to water quality monitoring developed by SCCG.

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

Preventing Cigarette Butt Littering: A Resource Package for Local Government

Introduction

The SCCG has prepared a resource package to assist Councils and other interested stakeholders to encourage the correct disposal of cigarette butts.

Aim and Objectives

The Preventing Cigarette Butt Litter in the Sydney Coastal Region project purpose was to provide Member Councils, other authorities and the community with a range of best practice tools and information that they can implement to address cigarette butt littering in their local area.

Outcomes / Outputs

The principle outcome of the project is an innovative resource package that provides Councils and in turn the community with information on the extent and problems of cigarette butt littering, legislation, enforcement ideas, bins and devices available and a range of example education initiatives. Secondary outcomes have been greater community awareness of the effects of cigarette butt littering and a reduction in cigarette butt litter.

Contents of the Resource Package:

  • Introduction (Concept and how to use the package)
  • Facts and Figures (Extent of littering and effect of the pollution).Bins and Devices (Example bins and devices to assist correct disposal).
  • Legislation (Relevant to littering and smoking area restrictions).
  • Enforcement (Licensing, PINs, MOUs, property leases, standard conditions for development).
  • Education (Education projects, activities, media releases, posters, stickers).
  • Relevant Contacts and Internet Site Details.

For a hard copy of the Resource Package or for more information please contact SCCG.

Coastal Risk Management in Member Councils

Introduction

Risk management is a tool used to make decisions about the probability of an event and its resultant consequences. It aims to provide a structured way of identifying and analyzing potential risks, and devising and implementing appropriate responses while providing an opportunity to enhance current practice and support. It is defined by Australian Standard 4360 (2004) as “the culture, processes and structures that are directed towards realising potential opportunities whilst managing adverse effects”. It involves a multifaceted process that is best carried out in a multidisciplinary team ensuring a systematic application to the tasks of identifying, analysing, assessing, treating and monitoring all forms of risk.

Management of coastal and estuarine risk is subjective as there are different reasons and values that influence the cost benefit ratio of protecting the coastal zone such as:

  • the loss of property,
  • the value of a beach,
  • the cost of protective works whether it be construction or renourishment, or
  • the value of the coastal zone by user groups e.g. surfers, land owner and tourism industry.

Risk management for the SCCG Member Councils is of prime importance as the management of risks has a wide distribution. Focus is required for the integration of not only natural processes such as coastal erosion, cliff stability and flooding but now must also incorporate issues such as public safety.

Aim and Objectives

The purpose of consultation process and the resultant report is to provide a status and recommendations report on risk management practice for Councils in Sydney coastal areas including beaches, estuaries, lakes and nearshore marine waters (suggested 3 nautical miles offshore).

The objectives of identifying risk management in all coastal areas are to establish:

  • what is risk management for each relevant coastal, estuary and/or waterway zone
  • what are the common risks faced by the Member Councils
  • what are the common practices of risk management
  • what are the gaps in coastal risk management practice

The purpose of the report is to provide Councils with:

  • details of member council feedback for the issue of Coastal Risk Management facing Sydney’s coastal Councils
  • collate a status and recommendations report as part of the process to identify the issues facing SCCG Councils by recognising:
  • common coastal risk issues and management activities identified for Member Councils
  • recommendations for managing risk in the coastal zone
Outcomes / Outputs

The report gives the necessary information to provide an overview of the current status and activities of coastal risk management in Member Councils including recommendations for future priorities. It also provides a unique a preliminary benchmark of the current practice in coastal risk management for SCCG Member Councils.

For a hard copy of the Report, or for more information please contact the SCCG.

Status and Recommendations Report – Risk Management for Sydney Coastal Councils, 2005

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