Bonville And Pine Creek Estuary Plan Receives Funding Boost

The Coastal Management Program aims to protect Bonville and Pine Creek Estuary into the future.

 

THE Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock has congratulated Coffs Harbour City Council for achieving certification of its Coastal Management Program (CMP) for estuaries on the southern side of Sawtell.

The certification enables the Council to apply for further implementation funding from the NSW Government’s Coastal and Estuary Grants Program to address some of the issues identified by the plan.

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The Bonville and Pine Creek CMP was prepared by Coffs Harbour City Council with co-funding of $37,782 from the NSW Government.

The estuary drains a catchment area of 115 km2 and discharges into the ocean south of Sawtell Headland.

Fifty percent of the catchment is developed, and most of the lower reaches of the catchment are in Bongil Bongil National Park.

The plan identifies threats and risks to the estuary and management objectives to deal with them.

A major factor identified over the next 30 years is sea level rise, which will cause inundation of coastal wetlands, rainforests and vegetation, leading to decline of biodiversity.

Other ‘high risk’ factors include damage to foreshore land, public infrastructure and recreational facilities, resulting in damage to or loss of facilities and degradation or loss of heritage sites and potential decline of fish population, possibly from overfishing.

Vegetation clearing for agricultural land use and because of unrestricted cattle access that cause bank erosion, loss of vegetation, sedimentation of creeks and decline of water quality is also of major concern, as well as increases in stormwater run-off and decline of stormwater quality because of more frequent and intense rainfall and land use intensification, causing erosion and sedimentation and decline in water quality.

Consequently, the CMP is focussing on several objectives for the Bonville and Pine Creek Estuary for the next ten years.

These include improving and maintaining water quality, reducing estuary sedimentation and bank erosion, and maintaining and improving vegetation corridors and fish stocks.

The Program also seeks to improve community amenity and facilities, preserve and protect the natural environment and cultural heritage and support the ongoing use of the estuary as an educational resource and for research.

Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh welcomed the program he said would benefit the community for years to come.

He said, “We’re delighted the council has developed this program, with NSW Government support, to provide coordinated management of the Bonville and Pine Creeks estuaries for ecosystem health and the sustainable use of the natural environment by the community.”

 

By Andrew VIVIAN

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