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Richmond River Coastal Management Program: Protecting our Catchment and Estuary

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Githabul Country, Border Ranges National Park, headwaters of the Richmond River (Image: K. Pratt)

If you wish to get in touch with the project team, please use the web form at the bottom of this page.

Project Background:


Hydrosphere Consulting will prepare the Stage 1 Scoping Study for the Coastal Management Program (CMP) for the Richmond River (the first of 5 stages of the CMP development). The CMP will provide the long-term strategy and management actions for the Richmond River, balancing priorities for environmental, cultural, recreational and commercial values, along with adaptation to emerging issues such as sea level rise and a changing population.  The Scoping Study will identify issues and knowledge gaps, document the requirements for CMP development and engage the community and stakeholders in the CMP process. 

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The Richmond River estuary and catchment are important for many people for many different reasons. The area is the traditional home of the Bundjalung Nation and has spiritual and cultural significance for traditional owners and custodians. The Richmond River is highly valued by the community, supporting local economies in agriculture, fisheries, tourism and recreation. The estuary, with its associated wetlands and waterways, supports a rich biodiversity and a range of important environmental functions as well as local industry.

​The Richmond River has a large catchment area and has historically undergone substantial land use modifications and as such the management of the whole catchment has a significant impact on the health of the coastal zone. The Richmond River catchment extends from the Queensland border in the north, Tenterfield and Clarence Valley council areas in the west to the Clarence River catchment at its southern border. Including the entire catchment in the CMP will provide a whole-of-catchment perspective for the coastal management process and capture all issues and activities that impact the health of the estuary.

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Project Stages:


Stage 1 - Scoping study (this stage) - involves collation of existing information, community and stakeholder engagement, and scoping of technical studies to fill key information gaps. Indicative timeline: March 2021 - February 2022.


Stage 2 - Detailed studies of vulnerabilities and opportunities 


Stage 3 - Identification and evaluation of options 

Stage 4 - Prepare, exhibit, certify and adopt the CMP  


Stage 5 - Implementation, monitoring and reporting 


Further information on the process, including technical resources related to the implementation of these stages can be found on the DPIE website here:

Rous County Council, Ballina Shire Council, Lismore City Council and Richmond Valley Council are partnering with the NSW Government to deliver the CMP. Due to the whole-of-catchment approach to the project, participating councils also include Kyogle Council, Byron Shire Council and Clarence Valley Council.

The preparation of the CMP will be undertaken in accordance with the NSW Coastal Management Act 2016 and the five stages outlined by the NSW guidelines for coastal management in the Coastal Management Manual. The manual outlines the mandatory requirements and provides guidance on the preparation, development, adoption and content of the CMP.​ The development of the CMP is a comprehensive process requiring detailed review and analysis as well as an extensive stakeholder consultation process.

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   Current Progress:​​

  • ​The Richmond River CMP Stage 1 Scoping Study is currently underway

Related Information and Documentation:

A suite of  information is available relating to the existing management and health of the study area as listed below. The CMP will supersede the existing Coastal Zone Management Plans for the Richmond River estuary and Evans River estuary.

The NSW Government's Marine Estate Management Strategy also includes the development of technical studies relating to the Richmond River. For more information visit NSW Marine Estate

Communication Portal


There is a lot of public interest in the Richmond River estuary and catchment and community input to this plan is critical in getting the right balance in management priorities.

Thank you for your feedback and input into the Richmond River CMP Scoping Study. The project team is compiling and reviewing the feedback. There will be additional opportunities to provide input to the project during later stages.