Draft Woolgoolga Region Estuaries Management Plan on Exhibition

Published on 28 February 2022

Woolgoolga Lake.jpg

A list of actions to help improve the future health and enhance the leisure opportunities of Darkum Creek, Woolgoolga Lake, Willis Creek and Hearnes Lake is contained in the draft Woolgoolga Region Estuaries Coastal Management Program which is out for community input from today (28 February 2022) until 29 March 2022.

“Throughout the development of the draft Program, we’ve consulted with residents and stakeholders to identify the aspects of the estuaries that the community values most highly,” said Sally Whitelaw, Council’s Team Leader Biodiversity Coastal and Flooding.

“The draft Program identifies the management issues and risks, and presents a series of management options to mitigate these risks. These have been summarised in the Program into a series of key actions.

“It is important to state that any measures will take time to put in place, depending on their scope and cost, and we’re looking at an initial ten-year timescale for the Program. But having an agreed Coastal Management Program is the most important step because it means we can apply for the funding and resources we need to make change.”

The top 19 actions are:

  • Implement a water quality monitoring program.
  • Publish annual water quality report cards for the estuaries.
  • Installation of water level gauges at Darkum Creek, Willis Creek and Hearnes Lake.
  • Undertake a 12-month trial of a water quality auto-sampler for Hearnes Lake.
  • Prepare and implement a stormwater management plan for the estuaries.
  • Undertake targeted riparian works program.
  • Environmental protection works.
  • Restore and expand riparian vegetation at the Woolgoolga southern foreshore.
  • Develop and implement a program of environmental education and performance reviews for local businesses.
  • Indigenous cultural inductions for high risk developments.
  • Rename Willis Creek to a name of local significance to the Gumbaynggirr people.
  • Install signage with Indigenous cultural heritage information.
  • Implement community education on recycled water use.
  • Promote community education regarding water access use.
  • Provide support for research and innovation into estuary health risks and their management.
  • Consolidate and update Indigenous heritage information.
  • Provide funding support for radiocarbon dating of indigenous heritage items.
  • Implementation of the proposed Coffs Harbour Intensive Horticulture Environmental Program (CHIEP).
  • Support the conservation and recovery of shellfish ecosystems in Woolgoolga Lake.


For more information and detail on these proposed actions, take a look at the Stage 4 report on the page on Council’s Have Your Say website.

To provide feedback and to find out more about the draft Woolgoolga Region Estuaries Coastal Management Program, please visit the page on Council’s Have Your Say website


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