Real action for our rivers

AFTER all the years of studies and planning and planning and studies Bellingen Shire residents are about to see some real action when it comes to the health of the shire’s rivers.

With funding sourced from an astonishing number of bodies, both state and federal, the Bellingen Council has now got more than $350,000 to begin delivering on-ground works along the banks of both the Bellinger and Kalang Rivers.

Work will range from revegetation and fencing to hard structures, such as rock walls to control more serious erosion sites.

Priority sites will be targeted on both private and public land, with the chief focus on improving bank condition, habitat and resilience against flooding.

With the support of the Northern Rivers Catchment Management Authority, river keeper Andrew Rickert has already prepared an estuary action plan for all properties between Lavenders Bridge and the Pacific Highway Bridge.

“Andrew has created plans that include rehabilitation strategies for all these properties,” said the council’s manager for sustainability and natural resources, Ian Turnbull.

“The plans include riparian mapping, weed control and possible fencing where needed.

“Sixty five percent of the landholders have already committed to their part of the plan.”

The plan covers approximately 35 kilometres of riverbank between Bellingen and Mylestom.

For one long-time river health advocate, Landcare’s Colin Matthews, the news is most welcome.

“It’s a fantastic injection of resources to look after the river banks,” Mr Matthews said.

“It’s great to see the council getting involved at this level and I am sure the incentives will help people change their behaviours. I guess this is the silver lining that has come from all the water quality issues we’ve had.”

The first major project, tree-planting, is now under way along Myleston Drive, Repton. For more information about upcoming river health activates contact Bellingen Council on 6655 7300.

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