Managing the health of the Richmond River estuary

The Coastal Zone Management Plan for the Richmond River Estuary (CZMP) is a 10-year plan that details implementation of key actions to address management issues affecting the estuary. The estuary extends some 90km from the mouth of the Richmond River to the tidal limit near Boat Harbour.

The Richmond River Estuary is a special place for the local community and supports a highly productive network of natural ecosystems, human land uses and activities. Agriculture, fishing, recreation and tourism activities interact with each other and the environment that supports them. This can create conflict and result in the health of the estuary being impacted.

To address the impacts of human land uses and activities on the Richmond River estuary the CZMP was prepared by local governments operating on the estuary, namely Ballina Shire, Lismore City, Richmond Valley and Richmond River County Council. The primary goal of the CZMP is to achieve integrated and balanced methods to restore and maintain the ecological sustainability of the estuary as well as the associated recreational and commercial activities.

The CZMP gives an overview of key issues facing the Richmond River estuary resulting from human land uses and activities and the management strategies that have been developed to address these issues. The plan identifies historic issues such as the clearing of floodplain vegetation, infilling of wetlands and the construction of drainage infrastructure as well as current issues such as acid sulfate soils and agricultural pollutants. The plan also identifies the need for climate change adaptation and better water quality monitoring.

With increased knowledge and through ongoing monitoring our understanding of the Richmond River estuary and estuaries in general will improve. Accordingly, the CZMP for the Richmond River estuary will need to be reviewed and amended to account for changing environmental conditions, community desires and management responses.

A number of activities are currently being undertaken to implement the CZMP.

  • Project to prioritise where to conduct revegetation and/or vegetation restoration on riverbanks.
  • Community education program.
  • Water quality monitoring program.

More information can be found via Richmond River County Council.

Coastal Zone Management Plan for the Richmond River Estuary