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Richmond River Estuary Coastal Management Program: Protecting our Estuary and its Catchment


The Richmond River Estuary Coastal Management Program (CMP) will provide the long-term strategy and management actions for the Richmond River estuary, 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 Stage 1 Scoping Study has been prepared and is the first of 5 stages of the CMP development. The CMP  Scoping Study identifies issues and knowledge gaps and documents the requirements for CMP development and engagement of the community and stakeholders in the CMP process.

The Stage 1 Scoping Study was completed in 2023 and is available to view and download via the link below:

Richmond River Estuary CMP Scoping Study


The following supporting information is available to provide further details:

Project Background:


The Richmond River estuary and its 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 estuary 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.​

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Richmond River Estuary CMP vision statement

​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.


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 and Byron Shire Council.

Richmond River Estuary CMP Catchment and Study Area

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.

Project Stages:


Stage 1 - Scoping study - involves collation of existing information, community and stakeholder engagement, and scoping of technical studies to fill key information gaps.


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 NSW Department of Planning and Environment website here:

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Richmond River Estuary backswamp wetlands

   Current Progress:​​

  • ​Public Exhibition of the Draft Scoping Study closed on 16th Dec 2022. The Scoping Study is now finalised and is now available to view and download via links above. 

Publix Exhibition

Public Exhibition of the Draft Scoping Study

Thank you for your feedback on the draft Scoping Study. Council has reviewed the submissions and all feedback was considered at the meeting of Rous County Council on 15 February 2023. The Council Business Paper includes a summary of the submissions and a response from Council staff and the consultants (Business papers and meeting minutes ( At that meeting, Council received and noted the submissions report outlining the public exhibition process and outcomes associated with the Scoping Study and endorsed finalisation of the Scoping Study as outlined in the submissions report.

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


Estuarine Wetlands of Richmond River Nature Reserve


Wilsons River at Wyrallah, downstream of Lismore

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