28 October 2022

Five beautiful Bega Valley estuaries receive $141,000 funding boost

| Albert McKnight
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Plans for Merimbula Lake and Back Lake will share in $141,000 from the NSW Government. Photo: Supplied.

Over $140,000 in funding will help prepare plans to protect five important – and visually stunning – estuaries across the Bega Valley.

Four management plans for estuaries in the shire have been under development since 2017, but their completion has been delayed due to legislative changes.

Now, two recently announced NSW Government grants will allow Bega Valley Shire Council to prepare coastal management programs (CMPs).

“Bega Valley Shire Council has been awarded $93,333 to develop the Wallaga Lake, Merimbula and Back Lakes, and Lake Curalo CMPs,” Minister for Local Government Wendy Tuckerman said.

“A second grant of $48,001 is to develop the Bermagui River estuary CMP.”

Council’s environmental management co-ordinator, Derek Van Bracht, said the funding would allow council to complete the four draft plans rather than start afresh.

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He said CMPs were designed to address environmental, land use, economic and recreational management issues impacting the values of a coastal zone.

While the management plans in place for most of the abovementioned estuaries were already under review, there was no such plan for the Bermagui River and a new CMP is now being developed to address its numerous management issues.

“The ecological health of our waterways is dependent on effective management of catchment land uses, sustainable use of the waterways by our tourism, recreational fishing and aquaculture industries and appropriate recreational use,” Mr Van Bracht said.

“There are numerous state agencies with different areas of responsibility for managing the coastal zone and CMPs are regarded as the best tool to ensure these agencies are appropriately carrying out their individual responsibilities while working cooperatively with one other, council and the community to protect our estuaries and broader coastal zone.”

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Bega Valley Shire Mayor Russell Fitzpatrick said his region had some of the most beautiful beaches and estuaries in the state.

“Targeting these estuaries will mean they are protected and maintained well into the future,” he said.

The final stage of the draft CMPs will involve incorporating coastal hazard information and conducting workshops. Following council approval, they will be placed on public exhibition for broader community comment.

The $141,000 in funding comes from the Coastal and Estuary Grants Program.

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