MidCoast Council's Manning River Estuary Catchment and Management Program on public display

Council's river plan open for public comment

After three years of development, MidCoast Council's Manning River Estuary Catchment and Management Program is on public display with an information session planned for Gloucester.

Stretching 261 kilometres from the mountains to the coast, the Manning River is the lifeblood of the community. Now a 10-year program to protect and improve the ecological health of its estuary and catchment is currently open for feedback.

The team at MidCoast Council has developed the draft Manning River Estuary Catchment and Management Program (ECMP) in close consultation with a wide range of community members and key stakeholders. The result is a robust program that applies a whole of catchment approach to managing the river, addressing the holistic nature of current and future risks.

"Placing the draft program on public exhibition is a crucial part of the process, ensuring we have accurately captured the needs and wants of our community, and important stakeholders that include primary producers, the local Aboriginal community, recreational and conservation groups, and other government agencies," council's Manager of Natural Systems and Acting Manager for Land Use Planning, Gerard Tuckerman explained.

"Input gathered during this stage will also help us understand whether the actions we have identified under eight core objectives are realistic, achievable and measurable," he said.

The program recognises the importance of the Manning River, its tributaries and the estuary to the 50,000 people living in the catchment area. The estuary is vital for oyster-growing, fishing, tourism and recreation. From the upper reaches of the catchment the Manning and its tributaries provide water for drinking, stock and irrigation. Cultural connections to the river and estuary for the Aboriginal community span many generations.

"The ways we use, enjoy and benefit from the Manning River are diverse, but they all depend on a healthy ecosystem and clean water," Gerard said.

"The actions we have identified for implementation over the next ten years are focused on community engagement and education, supporting a transition to best environmental management practices with farmers, restoring coastal wetlands and riverbank vegetation, and remediating acid sulfate soils."

The overarching focus for the Manning River ECMP is on addressing the impacts of land-use on water quality and ecosystem health, or in simple terms looking after the river we love. To find out more and get involved, visit www.midcoast.nsw.gov.au/ourmanningriver where you can provide feedback until 4.30pm on Tuesday July 13.

Opportunities to learn more and chat with the specialists involved in developing the program are also available a drop-in sessions at Gloucester on Tuesday June 15 at Gloucester library from 12.30pm to 2pm. Full details are outlined below and at www.midcoast.nsw.gov.au/ourmanningriver.

"Our community has identified the environment as one its greatest priorities, and this body of work is one of a number of initiatives that provide a framework for how we will protect and improve our natural assets for future generations."