Coast & Estuary Management

Nambucca Valley Ecohealth Monitoring Report 2018

Council received $82,000 from the Office of Environment and Heritage to be matched with Environmental Levy funds during the 2016-18 period to prepare the Nambucca Ecohealth Report. The project was completed in July 2018 and will provide a valuable source of information to assist in future natural resource management into the future.

The development of a standardised means of collecting, analysing and presenting riverine, coastal and estuarine assessments of ecological condition has been identified as a key need for coastal Local Councils who are required to monitor natural resource condition, and water quality and quantity in these systems. Thirty-one study sites were selected across the Nambucca River and Deep Creek catchments; 18 freshwater sites and 13 estuarine sites and these were sampled 6 times from July 2016 to June 2017 to contribute to the assessment of the ecological condition of the catchment.

 The Nambucca Ecohealth program was divided into six major hydrological units across nine sub-catchments: Nambucca River (North Arm), tributaries of the Nambucca North Arm, Taylors Arm, tributaries of Taylors Arm, Warrell Creek and Deep Creek. The project aimed to:

  1. Assess the health of coastal catchments using standardised indicators and reporting for estuaries, and freshwater river reaches using hydrology, water quality, riparian vegetation and habitat quality,
  2. Assess geomorphic condition and macroinvertebrate assemblages as indicators of aquatic ecosystem health, and
  3. Contribute scientific information to the development of a report card system for communicating the health of the estuarine and freshwater systems in the Nambucca River and Deep Creek catchments.

The Overall Grade for the Nambucca Ecohealth program was C-, ranging from an F in Tom Maras Creek, to a C+ in Warrell Creek. Overall Ecohealth grades were very consistent among the nine subcatchments, with aquatic macroinvertebrates and geomorphic condition the most variable across the program. Water quality scores were consistently poor across the catchment, driven by high nutrient concentrations and low dissolved oxygen, both indicative of the below average streamflow experienced during the study period. Riparian and geomorphic scores were relatively consistent among and within each system, highlighting that issues with physical condition are affecting the long-term condition of the streams.

The full Ecohealth report and a summary poster of the results can be found at the following links:

NambuccaRiver and Deep Creek Catchment Report Card 2018(PDF, 26MB)
Assessment of River and Estuarine Condition - Nambucca Ecohealth Report July 2018(PDF, 18MB)


Nambucca Valley Coastline and Estuaries Coastal Management Program


The Nambucca Valley coastline and estuarine waterways are a significant natural resource, ideal for undertaking various recreational activities, and providing suitable habitat for large areas of protected riparian and estuarine vegetation. The waterways are frequented by locals and visitors and provide for the livelihood of commercial fishermen, aquaculture and tourism operators.

A Coastal Management Program (CMP) is currently being finalised to provide a long-term strategy for the management of the Nambucca Valley coastline and estuaries. The study area comprises an extensive 25km of open coast from Oyster Creek to Scotts Head and the estuaries of Deep Creek, Swimming Creek, Nambucca River and Warrell Creek.

A link to the current Coastal Zone Management Plan 2012 can be found below.

Coastal Zone Management Plan(PDF, 16MB)


Biodiversity Values of Sand Island

Click here(PDF, 6MB) for an informative brochure explaining the biodiversity and values of Sand Island, part of the Nambucca River Estuary system.

Koala Habitat Study & Vegetation Mapping

In 2015 Council and the Office of Environment and Heritage partnered on two (2) projects which involved vegetation mapping and habitat assessment across the coastal areas of the Valley. The result of the projects was the preparation of Vegetation Mapping ‘ Coastal Lowland Vegetation Communities and Potential Threatened Ecological Communities’ and a ‘Koala Habitat Study’. These studies are offered for download below:
Click here(PDF, 16MB) to view the study examining the historical and recent distribution of koalas, in the eastern, coastal zone of the Nambucca Valley Council Local Government Area
Click here(PDF, 12MB) to download volume 1 of the report "Vegetation mapping within the Nambucca Shire Government Area". The report contains information pertaining to "Coastal Lowland Vegetation Communities and Potential Threatened Ecological Communities".

The following link will direct you to a website containing more information about the project and opportunities for you to participate via an online survey.


Deep Creek Entrance Management Policy

The Deep Creek system is recognised as an Intermittently Closed and Open Lakes and Lagoons (ICOLL).  The Deep Creek Entrance Management policy aims at providing Council and the community with a procedure for the management of the Deep Creek entrance when it is in a closed state.  The content of this policy is based on the findings of the WMA Water Deep Creek Flood Study (2012) and general information found on the Department of Primary Industires 'Management of Coast Lakes and Lagoons in NSW' website:

The policy is to be implemented by Nambucca Valley Council and other relevant State Government Authorities.

Nambucca River Estuary Management Plan

The Nambucca River Estuary Management Plan Final Report dated April 2008 is now available for viewing at Nambucca Valley Council or by clicking the link below.

Nambucca River Estuary Management Plan(PDF, 17MB)

Nambucca River Master Plan

Click on the links below to view the Nambucca River Master Plan and Compendium March 2010


Estuary Management Study

The Estuary Management Study document is over 100mb in size, please contact Council on 02 6568 0213 for a copy of this document on CD at a cost of $6.

Riverbank Restoration Guide

As part of the implementation of the Nambucca River Estuary Management Plan, Council in partnership with OEH, Nambucca Valley Landcare and the Northern Rivers CMA, has developed the Riverbank Restoration Guide(PDF, 551KB) .  The guide examines the different zones of the Nambucca River and recommends preferred treatment methods for restoration along with suitable species for planting on the bank.

Nambucca Shire Coastal Hazard Study

A final Nambucca Shire Coastal Hazard Study report provided by Consultants SMEC was commissioned by Nambucca Valley Council and received December 2009.  Please click on the links below for the Report (in 3 parts for ease of download) and attached Annexures.