Tweed Shire Council has won a 2018 Local Government NSW Excellence in the Environment award for its innovative Oxley River bank erosion stabilisation project.
The project, at Eungella, was recognised under category the ‘Natural Environment Protection and Enhancement: On-Ground Works’.
The project, which was completed this time last year, involved working together with three private landowners bordering Oxley River to reconstruct the eroding riverbank.
Ex-tropical cyclone Debbie left extensive damage and severe bank erosion at two sites, with banks left about seven metres high and prone to further slumping and erosion.
What was unique about the project?
After levelling off the banks, some 250 recycled hardwood logs – some with root balls still attached to stabilise them – were installed four metres into the river bed to provide bank protection and capture further sediments.
The logs were sourced through vegetation management contractors working on the Pacific Highway upgrade between Woolgoolga and Ballina.
Tweed’s community and natural resources director Tracey Stinson said it was ‘wonderful that these majestic big trees are being recycled and put to such good use’.
She added the landowners had been ‘glowing in their appreciation, as the productivity of their farms has increased [and] they are not going to lose swathes of land to the river each time it floods’.
As part of the project, the Oxley River banks were battered to a stable grade and covered with erosion control matting. More than 2,000 native trees, shrubs and groundcovers were planted to provide long-term stability.
Riverside fencing was also installed to exclude stock from the two project sites.
Council says that since the works were completed, both sites have been extremely successful in preventing further erosion.
The project was funded through Tweed Council’s River Health Grant program, which aims to protect and improve water quality in the Shire’s drinking water supply catchment.