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Byron Shire
May 8, 2021

Looking after the Tweed Estuary: have your say

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Where land meets the sea is sometimes called an estuary and in a place like the Northern Rivers, there are several.

But the significance of caring for our estuaries has probably only caught public attention when disasters happen – this year’s fish kills in Byron, for example.

Further north, the Tweed Shire Council says after three years of research, planning and consultation, its Tweed River Estuary Management Plan is ready for comments from the public.

The plan follows state government guidelines, will inform policy and practice for the next decade and includes 90 ideas for addressing threats to the estuary.

Loving the Tweed River: finding the balance

The Tweed River Estuary is a 35km tidal stretch of the river, between the Bray Park Weir at Murwillumbah and the river mouth at Tweed Heads.

Tweed Shire Council Waterways Program Leader Tom Alletson said the scenic waterway and picturesque surrounds were used extensively for recreational and tourism activities and were extremely important to the local community.

“The estuary retains a cultural connection for Aboriginal people and is a place for traditional cultural practices,” he said in a council press release.

“It is also highly valued as a commercial waterway and is integral to tourism and agricultural practices on the floodplain, contributing to the local economy,” he said.

Mr Alletson said the estuary management plan aimed to balance recreational, commercial and environmental priorities for the Tweed River.

“It can be difficult to find this balance, particularly in the face of population growth and rising sea levels,” he said.

“Without good water quality and healthy and abundant flora and fauna, the Tweed River’s value as a recreational and economic asset cannot be maintained.”

Serious concerns for Tweed River health

Mr Alletson said overall the river was in good shape but there were some serious concerns, such as river bank erosion, habitat loss, poor water quality, tidal inundation, loss of biodiversity, and conflict between river users.

“We are seeking feedback on how the plan could be improved to better manage the Tweed River, now and into the future,” he said.

The Tweed Shire Council is hosting ‘community conversation’ sessions to discuss the plan and river management:

  • Thursday 19thof September, South Sea Islander Room, 6–8pm, at the Tweed Heads Civic and Cultural Centre, corner Brett St and Wharf St, Tweed Heads NSW 2485
  • Wednesday 25 September, Canvas and Kettle Room, 6–8pm, at the Murwillumbah Civic and Cultural Centre, 10–14 Tumbulgum Road, Murwillumbah NSW 2484

The plan is on public display from the 2ndof September until the 31stof October, with copies available at Tweed Heads and Murwillumbah Council offices and libraries.

The Tweed Shire Council wants feedback on its ten-year management plan for the Tweed River Estuary. Photo supplied.

For more information, and to RSVP to a community conversation session, visit www.yoursaytweed.com.au/TweedRiverEstuaryPlan.

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  1. Not sure how the conclusion was reached that the Tweed Estuary was in good shape when six major problems with the river system were identified: River bank erosion, habitat loss, poor quality water, tidal inundation, loss of biodiversity and conflict between users.
    Work done on sustainable development of the region nearly 20 years ago showed that we were already past the ‘carrying capacity of the land’ yet despite that information the State guvmint and their handmaidens, local government, have been pushing for further development and related population growth as if there was no consequence for doing so. Well the parlous state of our rivers including the Tweed show what happens to our river systems when there is continuing growth and development. May I suggest as a solution to the Tweed River problems that Council and the State government abandon their growth fetish for the Northern Rivers. That should take some of the load off the river.


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