Estuaries have a special place in the lives of most Australians. Many people want to live near estuaries and if they can't, they want to take their holidays there. Over 75% of the NSW population live and work in towns and cities near estuaries. A high proportion of the State's commercial activity occurs near estuaries as they provide an important focus for industry, tourism and recreational activities. This high level of development pressure means that estuaries are subject to a range of direct and indirect impacts due to land use in the catchment, changes to hydrology and tidal processes, and the direct use of the estuary waterway.
In recognition of the need for future sustainable use of high value public assets, the NSW Government is implementing a number of key strategic initiatives, one of which is the Estuary Management Program. The Estuary Management Program commenced in 1992 to assist local government to better manage estuaries through a strategic process outlined in the NSW 'Estuary Management Manual'.
Council established a Coast and Estuary Management Committee in 1997 charged with the task of preparing management plans for all its estuaries and coastal lands. Funding was gained in September 1999 from the States Estuary Program to assist with the preparation of management plans. The Committee is being guided by the NSW Coastal Policy 1997, Estuary Management Manual (draft 1992) and North Coast Rivers Healthy Rivers Commission Report (HRC 2003) which outlines a structured management process leading to the adoption and implementation of an integrated, balanced and community supported estuary management plan.