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Byron Shire
July 5, 2022

A positive change for Bruns River

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From the River Warriors report on the Bruns River: ‘Large swathes of riverbank remain in a perilous state, and restoration alone will not ensure the long-term health of the river’. Photo supplied by PCFML

With the floods still on the mind of those impacted in the Shire’s north, a local charity and its partners have launched an interactive online map of the Brunswick River to raise awareness and hopefully bring it back to full health.

Degraded riverbanks are just one factor which is known to contribute to increased flooding levels, and over decades, the river has become more polluted. 

The River Warriors project is in partnership with government agencies, local environmental groups and Positive Change for Marine Life (PCFML). PCFML have expanded from its Byron Shire projects and now also work on international projects around waterway remediation, waste management and marine pollution.

PCFML River Warriors Project Officers, Eddie Bedingfield (right), and Lorena Woortman (left), get ready for a survey on the Brunswick River with Dane, PCFML Wetlands and Coastal Programs Coordinator. Photo supplied by PCFML

12-month project

Northern NSW Wetlands and Coastal Programs Coordinator for PCFML, Dane Marx, says the 12-month Bruns River project involved kayak-based surveys of the river banks, which established mapping of erosion, access points and native and exotic vegetation.

He told The Echo, ‘Water sampling and marine debris hotspots were also monitored and included in the mapping. The Brunswick River Warriors Storymap is the product of this work, and provides an interactive online map of the ecological health of the waterway’.

‘It highlights the many threats that it currently faces, as well as solutions to some of these pressing challenges’.

From the online report, it reads: ‘The Brunswick River today is fringed by a mixture of both native and exotic species, although invasive camphor laurel (Cinnamomum camphora) dominates much of its banks. There are several sections that have been replanted with native species, and stretches of mangroves remain intact in some areas’.


Mr Marx says the collaboration included data-sharing with a number of project partners, including representatives from government, business and recreational users. All contributors heavily influenced the final mapping platform, he says, ‘including NSW DPI Fisheries, Byron Shire Council and Brunswick Valley Landcare’.

‘It supports a wide range of actions to improve the health of the waterway – including an online form that allows anyone from the community to upload photos and information on issues along the river in real-time, utilising GPS technology’.

The new mapping tool, says Mr Marx, has already resulted in securing part-funding for a new community-based restoration project, that will commence in the latter half of 2022.

Visit www.pcfml.org.au/bruns-storymap for more information.

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  1. Good onya you guys. Protecting the river. A noble profession. Just a few ideas here, if I may , to tweek it a bit better … Riverbanks need native trees and shrubs to stabilise the bank. Not just paddock. The roots aren’t big enough and deep enough to hold it together. The green belt needs to be at least 20 metres wide either side of the river. Leave mangroves to grow as far back beyond the bank as they want to. From there it’s Paperbark , Casuarina (sheoak) to swamp mahogany , T tree,
    bottlebrush . Banksia nearer the ocean. That Hawaiian hibiscus is fantastic , even though it’s not exactly a native , it’s from the Pacific , which is close enough. There’s a fantastic stand near the mouth of the Bruns. They hold that whole coastline together. All around that nice little beach at the mouth. Also, sewage. There’s to much sewage. It’s yuck and gross. Mullum sewage , Bruns, Ocean shores, it all goes in the river and lakes . It kills native plants and kills fish. At least Byron puts it through a wetland planted with nitrogen loving plants and trees , so it slowly filters through that and virtually fresh water is released back into the river . They say it is but I doubt it, but it’s trying , and it’s making it less toxic. And the plants and trees are turned into paper and clothes. Building material . It’s a win win. Sewage into precious waterways is ancient practise. We still haven’t learned .
    The Thames was filthy for centuries. They stopped the pollution going into it, and it’s a lot cleaner today than it was 50 years ago. It’s a start tho , keep up the good work and don’t get put off by old codgers like me. Plant those trees. Go for it.


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