Environment projects

Kempsey Shire Council works closely with government agencies and other organisations to attract funding, develop management strategies and implement environmental rehabilitation projects throughout the diverse landscapes of the shire.

Rehabilitation projects and programs include: floodplain management, wetland rehabilitation, riverbank restoration, back swamp management, and estuary and coastal management.


Boyter’s Lane Wetland

Council purchased a 25-ha degraded dairy farm in the lower Macleay River estuary with plans to allocate 6 ha for community use, including the development of playing fields.

The site contained remnants of three Ecological Endangered Communities:

  • Coastal Saltmarsh in NSW North Coast, Sydney Basin and South East Corner bioregion
  • Swamp Oak Floodplain Forest of the NSW North Coast, Sydney Basin and South East Corner bioregions
  • Freshwater Wetlands on Coastal Floodplains of the NSW North Coast, Sydney Basin and South East Corner bioregions.

Council prepared and adopted the Boyter’s Lane Wetland Plan of Management, the Boyter’s Lane Native Vegetation Rehabilitation Implementation Strategy and the Boyter’s Lane Wetlands Environmental Education Plan to guide rehabilitation of site.

The project was underpinned by four core objectives that were determined through public consultation and plan of management development:

  • protect existing ecological values 
  • rehabilitate and improve biodiversity
  • encourage community usage 
  • promote environmental awareness.

To date, Council has rehabilitated the site by planting more than 15,000 native trees and shrubs, protecting and improving 8 ha of mangrove and saltmarsh, building 2 km of walkways, and constructing a bird hide and environmental information hut.

Management Plan and related documents

Boyter's Lane Wetland Management Plan

Boyter's Lane Native Vegetation Rehabilitation Implementation Strategy

Consultant reports

Boyter's Lane Wetland Audit

Boyter's Lane Wetlands Environmental Education Plan October 2007

Gills Bridge Creek Rehabilitation Project

In 2007 Council developed the Gills Creek Rehabilitation Plan to improve and sustain the ecological condition of the creek while encouraging total catchment management awareness, involving and engaging the community. 

The objectives of the plan are to:

  • improve water quality and flow regimes
  • protect and, where possible, regenerate native riparian vegetation
  • improve and sustain aquatic and terrestrial ecological habitats
  • increase bank stability and decrease erosion
  • manage, control and, where possible, reduce the area and extent of weed species
  • raise community awareness of total catchment management principles.

Gills Creek Rehabilitation Plan(PDF, 561KB)

Gills Creek Rehabilitation Plan brochure(PDF, 520KB)

Jerseyville Project

The Nestlé Community Vegetation Project was a collaboration between the Nestlé Smithtown factory and Kempsey Shire Council. Its objective was to restore a once heavily weed invested and degraded section of the Lower Macleay River bank by planting more than 4000 endemic rainforest trees and shrubs, comprising some 50 different species. 

About 460 m of meandering asphalt walkway was included in the project to allow community pedestrian access through the rehabilitation site. The project was designed to facilitate and increase environmental awareness, provide opportunities for educational activities such as school excursions and enhance the social amenity of the adjoining reserve and public boat ramp.

The project was considered the first collaborative attempt to address environmental rehabilitation between local government and the corporate sector in the Lower Macleay river area. The project was supported by the Rotary Club South West Rocks, Macleay Valley Community Catchment Care Group, Conservation Volunteers Australia and Greening Australia.

Smithtown Riverbank Restoration Project

The Smithtown Riverbank Restoration Project is a Nestlé-funded, Council-managed riverbank project designed to rehabilitate a heavily weed-invested section of the Lower Macleay River on the bank next to Smithtown Park and the Nestlé factory.

The project has two components:

  • the removal of weeds and the planting of more than 500 native riparian rainforest trees and shrubs
  • an educational component consisting of an interactive booklet highlighting the importance of riparian vegetation and a series of wall posters designed to be used by local Year 6 students to improve and increase their knowledge of the importance of riparian vegetation, with an emphasis on the Macleay River.

Pelican Island Foreshore Improvement Project

The Pelican Island Foreshore Improvement Project was based on a management strategy recommended in the Macleay River Estuary Coastal Zone Management Plan in 2012. The site is located in the lower estuary of the Macleay River.

The objectives were to rehabilitate approximately 300 m of riverbank by addressing and remediating riverbank erosion, eradicate 1500 m2 of environmental weed, improve 0.6 ha of saltmarsh and fish habitat values, and reduce sediment and nutrient loads entering the lower estuary.

The project is jointly funded by Kempsey Shire Council and NSW Office Environment and Heritage (Estuary Program) and developed in accordance with management strategies 8 and 11 of the Macleay River Estuary Coastal Zone Management Plan. 

Timber and rock structures known as ‘fillets’ are designed to provide bank protection and space for mangroves colonisation, creating important fish habitat.

This project also targeted the removal of Juncus acutus, a highly invasive weed that is threatening this and other saltmarsh communities in the lower Macleay.

Stuarts Point Caravan Park Foreshore

Riverbank erosion on the western bank of the Macleay River, next to the Stuarts Point Caravan Park, was occurring from natural processes and human-induced factors. The erosion was a potential threat to public assets, increasing sedimentation and impacting on native vegetation.

The Macleay River Arm Rehabilitation Management Plan – Stuarts Point Caravan Park(PDF, 858KB) was developed to address and manage erosion problems in the foreshore area. Its objective is to provide a program of works and measures that identified the underlying causes of bank erosion instability and implement strategies to address and remediate.

A development application for remediation works was submitted to Council and approval was granted to complete the following works:

  • construction of a 200 m sea (rock) wall to provide a native riparian vegetation buffer
  • construction of rock fillets to encourage estuarine (mangroves) regeneration
  • installation of 70 m of fencing to protect existing riparian vegetation
  • the planting of native trees and grass species to further protect and enhance the local environment.

Upper Belmore River Riparian Rehabilitation Project

The Upper Belmore River Riparian Rehabilitation Project(PDF, 2MB) has been developed in partnership between Kempsey Shire Council and landholders directly connected to a 5km stretch from the Upper Belmore Bridge to the head of the Belmore River.

The project includes strategies and actions to address weed management, re-establishment of native vegetation, abate riverbank erosion and return natural hydraulic flow regimes in the Upper Belmore River with the aim of increasing native ecological biodiversity, improving environmental water quality parameters, and fostering improved landscape aesthetic values.

The actions undertaken were consistent with management strategies identified in the Upper Belmore River Floodplain Management Strategy (2000) and the Lower Macleay Floodplain Management Study and Plan (1999) and the Macleay River Estuary Coastal Zone Management Plan (2011).

Christmas Creek Rehabilitation Project

The Christmas Creek Rehabilitation Project is a floodplain riparian rehabilitation project on Council owned and managed land adjacent to Christmas Creek, within the Macleay flood plain.

The Christmas Creek Rehabilitation Project is consistent with and based on management strategies 2 and 5 of the Macleay River Estuary Coastal Zone Management Plan, adopted by Council in 2012, and supports the recommendations of the Macleay Catchment Ecohealth Report 2017.

The main objective of the proposed project is to improve the environmental condition and biodiversity values of the site and surrounding environments.

Sherwood Borefield Rehabilitation Project

The Sherwood Borefield Rehabilitation Project was based on the recommendations of the Sherwood Borefield Environmental Rehabilitation Plan in 2011. The project’s objectives were to improve the riparian ecological condition of the site, located within the non-tidal gravel bed reaches of the middle Macleay catchment.

Before the project began, the site had a relatively poor species assemblage of remnant and degraded native vegetation stands. Council now manages the project on an ongoing basis, with approximately 22,000 native trees and shrubs planted over approximately 30,00m2 of riparian riverbank.



More information

See also: