Overview

Our Manning River is the lifeblood of the local community, connecting the mountains to the sea. Its estuary is important for oyster-growing, fishing, tourism and recreation. Up-river the Manning and its tributaries provide water for drinking, stock and irrigation.

That’s why we’ve developed the 10-year action program to maintain a clean and healthy river, safeguarding the social and economic benefits it provides for our community. The program applies a holistic approach to managing the river, recognising that what happens upstream impacts on the estuary. Its primary focus is addressing the impacts of land-use on water quality and ecosystem health.

Manning River Estuary Catchment and Management Program 2021-2031

To view the Manning River Estuary and Catchment Management Program 2021-2031 document in full-screen in the interactive PDF viewer below, select the bracket icon at the bottom-right side the toolbar to enable full-screen.

If you are having trouble viewing the document in the interactive PDF viewer, you may also download the full Manning River Estuary and Catchment Management Program 2021-2031 in the Document library on this page.


Themes

Since 2018, we have engaged with a wide range of community members and stakeholders. Together we've developed a program of 36 management actions grouped under 8 key objectives listed below.

  • Stewardship

    Engage with the community, build capacity and support partnerships to promote understanding, connection and stewardship

  • Water quality and ecosystem health

    Manage the Manning River Catchment and its Estuary holistically to maintain and improve water quality, natural character and ecosystem services

  • Climate change

    Understand, mitigate, adapt and build resilience to current and future hazards including the impacts of climate change

  • Biodiversity

    Protect and conserve natural character and biological diversity

  • Aboriginal custodianship

    Acknowledge and support Aboriginal peoples' spiritual, social, customary and economic connection to the Manning River Catchment and its Estuary

  • Social and economic values

    Manage the Manning River Catchment and its Estuary to maintain and improve social, cultural, and economic opportunities and benefits

  • Land use planning

    Facilitate ecologically sustainable development and promote sustainable land use planning decision-making

  • Governance

    Build stakeholder partnerships for good governance and integrated management


Working together for a healthy Manning River

The Manning River Estuary and Catchment Management Program 2021-2031 aims to protect and improve the ecological health of the Manning Estuary and its catchment, and in doing so support the social, cultural and economic values of the region.

During the development of the program we worked closely with the community to ensure it reflected local knowledge and concerns.

The Manning River ECMP Reference Group was a formally appointed committee of Council with 15 members made up of 10 community representatives, four government agency representatives and the CEO of the Purfleet-Taree Land Council. Community members were recruited via an advertising campaign and represent beef, dairy and oyster farmers, Landcare, Coastcare, recreational fishing and broad community interests.

We also consulted with Local Aboriginal Land Councils, community and industry groups, farmers and the general community.


Consultation feedback and changes

A draft program was developed and placed on exhibition during June and July 2021.

During this consultation period we received a range of submissions from the community, the main themes of which were:

  • Concerns about irrigation and water extraction
  • Stormwater pollution
  • Erosion and sediment control

The full detail of the submissions can be found here (attach submission document) and the report to the elected Council can be found here.

As a result of this feedback several changes were made to the draft program prior to finalisation.

These changes included:

  • the addition of some statements about land use planning
  • highlighting the positive effort of many farmers to manage environmental impacts
  • an explanation of the budget schedules
  • an expansion to the list of scientific research projects
  • inclusion of practice notes
  • updated list of stakeholders

Background

Background

We worked closely with our community throughout the planning process to ensure the Manning River Estuary and Catchment Management Program 2021-2031 is inclusive, captures local knowledge, aspirations and concerns, and is supported by the community and stakeholders.

We worked with the following groups to ensure the program is representative of our community needs and aspirations:

The Manning ECMP Reference Group: representatives from beef, dairy and oyster farming, Landcare, recreational fishing and broad community interests, along with government agencies.

The ECMP Technical Advisory Group: subject area experts from Council, government agencies and academic institutions.

Delivery partners: Council staff from across the organisation and state government agencies who will be leading implementation of the program.

Aboriginal consultation: the CEO of Purfleet-Taree Local Aboriginal Land Council was engaged to consult with the Biripi Community.

Community Interest Groups: a cross-section of local interests including agriculture and industry groups, Landcare and the Manning River Turtle Conservation Group.

Farmers: 24 farmers were interviewed about the barriers and drivers for catchment management and how we can support them.

The wider community: over 250 individuals have been engaged so far through events, surveys and workshops with more to come during the exhibition phase in June.

FAQs

Below are some key questions about the Manning River Estuary and Catchment Management Program 2021-2031.

The Manning River Estuary and Catchment Management Program 2021-2031 is being prepared under the Coastal Management Act 2016. This requires Councils to prepare coastal management programs to achieve the objects of both the Coastal Management Act and the Marine Estate Management Act.

The Coastal Management Act is concerned with the estuarine reaches of the Manning River, from the tidal limit upstream of Wingham to the dual entrances at Harrington and Farquhar Inlets. The estuary covers an area of approximately 32 km and features 115 km of inter-connecting channels and islands.

Coastal management programs identify coastal management issues, the actions required to address them, how and when those actions will be funded and implemented.

Some of these issues are coastal in nature, for example beach erosion and coastal inundation. Others originate up-river in the catchment, for example diffuse-source run-off of nutrients and sediments can affect water quality in the estuary and marine estate.

You can find out more about Coastal Management Programs here.

Achieving the Coastal Management Act’s objectives for healthy coastal areas and a thriving marine estate will require management actions in the upstream catchment. We are taking a whole-of-catchment approach to safeguarding the Manning estuary, recognising that the fresh and saltwater systems are connected and what happens upstream impacts on the estuary and marine receiving waters.

Having the Manning River Estuary and Catchment Management Program 2021-2031 certified under the Coastal Management Act will give Council access to Coast and Estuary program co-investment to help implement our program.

It’s a whole-of-catchment program recognising that the fresh and saltwater systems are connected and what happens upstream impacts on the estuary and marine receiving waters. It will primarily address the impact of land-use on water quality and ecosystem health.

The NSW Government objectives for healthy coastal areas and a thriving marine estate require management actions in the upstream catchment. Having the draft Manning River Estuary and Catchment Management Program accredited under the Coastal Management Act will give Council access to Coast and Estuary program funding at a rate of 2:1 to help implement our program.

The Manning River Estuary and Catchment Management Program 2021-2031 covers a planning area starting two kilometres inland from the average low tide water mark and extending to the top of the catchment. It does not cover Harrington and the entrances.

We are also preparing the Old Bar - Manning Point Coastal Management Program for this coastal erosion hotspot. It covers from the open coast and extends two kilometres inland, including the south entrance at Farquhar. The Old Bar - Manning Point Coastal Management Program will deal mostly with the influence of oceanic water on land.

The NSW Coastal Management Act 2016, identifies four coastal management areas to be managed for social, cultural and economic well-being:

  • Coastal Wetlands and Littoral Rainforest
  • Coastal Environment Area
  • Coastal Use Area
  • Coastal Vulnerability Area

With the exception of the Coastal Vulnerability Area, these areas are mapped in the Coastal Management State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP).

Because we are doing a whole-of-catchment program, we have added two additional areas for our Manning River Estuary Catchment Management Program 2021-2031. These are:

The Manning Estuary Floodplain: the low-lying area downstream of Taree covering 2,060km2 in size.

The Manning River Catchment: the Manning River originates in the Barrington Tops and flows 261 kilometres to the Tasman Sea. Its vast catchment covers an area of approximately 8,420km2 with 16 major tributaries.

To see a map of the Manning River Catchment click here


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