Working towards a healthy river by working together
Cooks River Alliance Community Vision Statement
The Cooks River Alliance is bringing together stakeholders from across the catchment to develop a long-term strategy with actions to improve the health of the Cooks River using the NSW Coastal Management Act. The final Cooks River Catchment Coastal Management Program (CMP) ensures a legislatively backed, certified program of works for councils and partner organisations with co-funding from the NSW Government.
Below are some of the issues that will have actions and strategies for management:
Find out everything you need to know here about the five stages in preparing and implementing a CMP.
Waterways in the Cooks River CMP study area
Under the Coastal Management Act 2016 (CM Act) councils are required to prepare a Coastal Management Program (CMP) which sets out a long-term strategy for coordinated management of the coast, with a focus on achieving the objects and objectives of the CM Act.
CMPs identify coastal management issues in the area, the actions required to address these issues, and how and when those actions will be implemented. They detail costs and proposed cost-sharing arrangements and other viable funding mechanisms.
The CM Act (and other relevant legislation) establishes specific roles and responsibilities for relevant Ministers, the NSW Coastal Council, public authorities and local councils, as well as providing opportunities for communities to participate when preparing and implementing a CMP.
You can find out more detailed information about Catchment Management Programs here.
The Cooks River Alliance is coordinating stakeholders across the catchment to use this legislation to develop a whole of river plan.
The Alliance has successfully advocated to the NSW Government that objectives for healthy coastal areas cannot be met without actions upstream and that the actions need to be co-funded. Therefore an innovative whole of catchment approach is being applied to the Cooks River Catchment CMP to address the transboundary nature of current and future risks.
The final outcome will be a legislatively backed, certified program of works developed for councils and other stakeholders across the catchment with co-funding available from the NSW Government.
The Cooks River is a 23km urban estuary stretching from Yagoona to Kamay (Botany Bay). Freshwater from the river’s upper reaches mixes with saltwater from Kamay, with the tide extending as far as Punchbowl Road, Greenacre.
The NSW Coastal Management Act 2016, identifies the following four coastal areas as the most vulnerable and in need of protection: Coastal Environment Area; Coastal Use Area; Coastal Wetlands and Littoral Rainforest; and Coastal Vulnerability Area.
The Cooks River Catchment CMP is an opportunity to review these zones and where appropriate extend the boundaries of protection. Click the links below to see the coastal zones as they are currently mapped within the Cooks River Catchment.
–Cooks River Catchment Environment Area
–Cooks River Catchment Coastal Use Area
–Cooks River Catchment Coastal Wetlands
The Cooks River Catchment CMP is being coordinated by the Cooks River Alliance and its member councils working in partnership with other catchment councils, state government agencies, public authorities, land managers and community groups to develop the program.
The Cooks River Alliance is the project manager coordinating 85 representatives from 35 organisations participating in working groups across various specialty areas including: Aboriginal culture and heritage, assets and governance, biodiversity, heritage and stormwater and flooding.
Working groups consist of a diverse mix of subject-matter experts, strategic planners, knowledgeable and passionate community members as well as decision-makers.
There are five stages of a risk management process in preparing and implementing a CMP.
We are currently working on Stage 2 which involves undertaking studies to identify risks, vulnerabilities and opportunities.
The Stage 1 Scoping Study for the Cooks River Catchment CMP was completed in January 2020 and was a collaborative project led by the Alliance and its members in partnership with the following stakeholders:
-Botany Bay and Catchment Alliance
-City of Canterbury Bankstown Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Reference Group
-City of Sydney
-Cooks River Valley Association
-NSW DPI Fisheries
-Metro Local Aboriginal Land Council
-National Parks and Wildlife Service
-Port Authority of NSW
-Roads and Maritime Services
-Wolli Creek Preservation Society
As part of Stage 1, a Scoping Study was completed in 2020 which identified the long term vision for the CMP – Scoping Study Document.
We are now working on Stage 2 of the CMP that identifies risks, vulnerabilities and opportunities in the Cooks River catchment. Since the Scoping Study was finalised, hazards have been refined and will continue to be refined as part of the later stages of the CMP.
What is happening in Stage 2?
To help identify, analyse and evaluate the risks, vulnerabilities and opportunities, during Stage 2 we will complete:
1. Condition Assessment of Waterway Assets
2. Cooks River Report Card Establishment Plan
3. Biodiversity Assessment
4. Coastal Hazard Assessment
The studies will help more people in the Cooks River catchment (MAP) to understand, analyse and evaluate the ‘coastal’ management issues, opportunities and risks, and support good decision-making in the next stages.
The Cooks River Catchment CMP will include:
-A list of issues facing the Cooks River catchment
-Actions to be implemented to enhance the values of the Cooks River
-An assessment of actions for technical feasibility, economic viability and community acceptability
-Responsibilities of different Councils, State Government agencies and other stakeholders for implementing agreed actions
-A business plan with costs and priorities for implementing each management action
Underpinning the CMP is a strong community vision for “A loved and healthy Cooks River valley and its catchment enriching the heart of Sydney”. This vision encompasses four key themes:
-A biodiverse river valley supporting a clean river
-Aboriginal ways of thinking are valued from Yana Badu to Kamay
-Every community accessing and enjoying the river
-Holistic cooperative approaches are guiding river restoration
Read how the Cooks River community developed this vision.
There are lots of ways to join the movement of people improving the health of the river.
– Connect with your local Cooks River community group to take part in clean-ups, bush regeneration, and wildlife monitoring events
– Watch this space for opportunities to monitor river health through new citizen science projects (coming in 2021)
– Sign up for our newsletter to keep up to date with CMP progress and be notified of opportunities to Have Your Say at various stages of the project