CZMP in the Richmond River estuary

Richmond River Governance and Funding Framework final report

Over the past 18 months the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE), in collaboration with local councils, has completed a project to co-develop a recommendation to the NSW Government – the Richmond River Governance and Funding Framework (RRGFF).

Local government has contributed 50% of the funding to this project. The Councils of Kyogle, Richmond Valley, Lismore, Rous, Byron and Ballina are committed to better catchment and estuary health outcomes for the Richmond River. The DPIE Coastal and Estuaries Grants Program has funded the remaining 50% of the project. DPIE itself has also funded staff time to develop the project and to support the background work. 

A copy of the Richmond River Governance and Funding Framework final report is available here


Coastal Zone Management Plan for the Richmond River estuary

The Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) was placed on public exhibition from 14 March 2011 to 6 May 2011.

Following receipt and review of all submissions, a report was prepared for the Office of Environmental Heritage (OEH) and Richmond River County Council (now Rous County Council). A final draft incorporating amendments was prepared by Hydrosphere and presented to Ballina Shire Council, Richmond River County Council (now Rous County Council), Lismore City Council and Richmond Valley Council for adoption, then forwarded to the Minister for the OEH for certification.


The Richmond River estuary is highly valued by the community and is a focal point for local commerce, tourism and recreation. The estuary, with its associated wetlands and waterways, supports a rich biodiversity and a range of important environmental functions and local industry. Despite these recognised values, the system is under pressure from past and existing development, catchment disturbance and hydrological modification, land use management and large-scale vegetation changes. Looking forward, the estuary faces continued pressure from future development within the catchment.

The natural characteristics of the Richmond River catchment and floodplain, such as the presence of potential acid sulfate soils, a large floodplain to catchment ratio and poor flushing characteristics are all elements that interact with and exacerbate the impact of human pressures. Together these factors contribute to the degradation of the waterway and occurrence of undesirable events such as poor water quality episodes and fish kills, particularly following some flood events.

The NSW Estuary Management Program was established with the aim of protecting and restoring the health and functionality of estuaries along the NSW coastline and to implement the State Government’s Estuary Management Policy, 1992. The program encourages local stakeholders to responsibly manage their local estuaries through the formation of an Estuary Management Committee and the development of an Estuary/CZMP that reflects the needs of the local community and the environment, identifying issues, possible solutions and methods to implement them.

Hydrosphere Consulting on behalf of Ballina Shire Council, Lismore City Council, Richmond Valley Council and Richmond River County Council (now Rous County Council) prepared an Estuary Management Study (EMS) and CZMP for the Richmond River estuary.

A public meeting to present the Plan was held on 28 March 2011 at the Richmond Room in Regatta Avenue, Ballina.

Volume 1: Coastal Zone Management Plan

Volume 2: Estuary Management Study and Appendices 

Richmond River Estuary Summary document 

Related Documents:

Estuary Processes Study: Summary ABER, 2007