Wash and riverbank erosion management

River bank erosion is caused by factors including flooding, high wash boating activities, resource extraction, wind waves, changes to vegetation and sea rise, stock access and other changes.

During community consultation on the NSW Regional Boating Plans in the Tweed, Clarence and Williams River areas, the key issue was raised around erosion.

Roads and Maritime Services is now taking the first steps toward developing a state-wide policy for managing boating-related erosion issues, which will include considering infrastructure solutions where possible.

Clarence River erosion management plan

The Clarence River Erosion Management Plan aims to address concerns around the contribution of boating activity to erosion in sensitive areas of the Clarence River.

The Plan came into effect from 1 September 2015 and includes a list of actions, including boating restrictions and remediation work, to be carried out for two years until September 2017.

These measures aim to preserve the river bank and provide certainty around the management of erosion for the boating community, residents and local businesses using the river for recreation and commercial benefit.

Frequently asked questions

  • Restrictions are now in place against wakeboarding, wake surfing, aquaplaning and using an additional ballast in the new ‘no slow-tow’ zones in the Clarence River until 1 September 2017 at:

    • the areas between Rogans Bridge and Moleville Rocks
    • the northern channel between Susan Island and Grafton.
  • As the restrictions apply to most circumstances where heavy wash is generated, a general prohibition on waterskiing is not considered necessary due to the preference for smooth water and the comparatively lower level of wash generated.
  • Recreational activities such as wakeboarding have the potential to cause damage to the river environment and by restricting this activity Roads and Maritime aims to assess the impact reducing wash will have on the riverbank.

    The Management Plan was developed following extensive community consultation and in consideration of scientific evidence established by the University of NSW Water Research Laboratory (WRL). The WRL identified parts of the Clarence River riverbank as sensitive to erosion and where high-wash boating activity is likely to be a contributing factor.

    With consideration of the scientific evidence and after extensive stakeholder and community consultation, the new boating restrictions were determined as part of the Clarence River Erosion Management Plan.

    The Management Plan aims to balance the environmental needs of the river while ensuring boaters, businesses and local residents can enjoy the river for years to come in a sustainable and responsible manner.

  • The new restrictions will not affect aquatic events such as the annual Grafton Bridge to Bridge race. As aquatic events are held infrequently they are not considered to have a substantial or ongoing impact on riverbank health.
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