The second stage in the development of a new Coastal Management Program (CMP) for the Darkum Creek, Woolgoolga Lake, Willis Creek and Hearnes Lake Estuaries is now underway and residents are being encouraged to register their interest in further consultation opportunities.
These estuaries are major assets for the Coffs Harbour region and important habitats in the life-cycle of the marine wildlife of the Solitary Islands Marine Park. They provide a stunning natural environment, a multitude of recreational opportunities and are a cornerstone of the coastal lifestyle that is so highly valued by the local community and visitors alike.
However, the estuaries are facing increasing pressures from land uses in the catchment, urban development and climate change. The final Coastal Management Program will consider estuary and catchment health issues such as bank erosion, water quality, catchment and sediment inflows, as well as recreational opportunities.
The community was invited to provide feedback in March and April 2020 on the first stage of the CMP development which was a scoping study. In Stage 2, issues identified by the community will be further investigated using the latest data and information to determine the cause of these impacts.
Stages Two to Four will involve identifying threats and pressures impacting on the estuaries and developing targeted management actions to address them. Stage Five will focus on implementation. It is expected that the CMP will be finalised in early 2022.
Further community consultation is planned for later this year through public drop-in sessions, but people are also being invited to register their interest in participating in that consultation – and keeping up-to-date with the project – by going to the Woolgoolga Region Estuaries Coastal Management Program page on Council’s Have Your Say website.
The CMP has been funded through a grant from the NSW Department of Planning Industry and Environment and is being developed by Council in partnership with specialist coastal management consultants.