Natural Environment Protection and Enhancement: on-ground works


Denise Anderson
Senior Policy Officer - Environment

Phone: 02 9242 4056
[email protected]

Winner Division C and Overall Winner

Coffs Harbour City Council: Reducing the impacts of waste water from intensive horticulture on waterways
In response to increasing community concerns over declining water quality and rapidly expanding intensive plant agriculture in the area, Coffs Harbour City Council collaborated with Southern Cross University to quantify the issue.

The study found farmers are losing 18-40% of their applied fertiliser to waterways, with nutrient loads as high as 1,000 times allowable levels. Working with landholders, Local Land Services and the local Landcare groups, Council constructed woodchip bioreactors to capture and treat nutrient-rich wastewater from blueberry farms and cucumber hothouses.

Southern Cross University continues to monitor the effectiveness of the bioreactors. Field days have showcased works, and the project has led to local farmers reducing fertiliser use. The project has also enabled stronger relationships with local grower cooperatives and industry groups.

Read the case study

newly constructed bioreactor cells in trench along the perimeter of blueberry farm

Highly Commended Division C

Central Coast Council: Connecting our Foreshores – Tuggerah Lakes
The Connecting our Foreshores Project by Central Coast Council restored, improved and connected a popular 5 km length of estuarine foreshore in Tuggerah Lakes. Integrated environmental improvement works restored 19 Ha of saltmarsh and swamp oak floodplain forest, constructed a viewing platform and a 200 m saltmarsh boardwalk, installed 14 water quality improvement devices and the installation of interpretive signage that connect the community with the foreshore environment.

Highly Commended Division C

Wollongong City Council: Protecting and maintaining microbat roost habitat - by the book
In May 2019, during routine repair work in a culvert in Dapto, ten to fifteen microbats were discovered roosting in cavities in the culvert. Wollongong City Council directed a temporary halt to the works and engaged ecological consultants, who identified the species as the vulnerable Southern Myotis (Myotis macropus). Several microbat roosts were observed, prompting the development of a Microbat Management Plan. Wooden bat boxes were installed and repair work halted during the species overwintering and breeding periods. The repair work resumed in late April 2020 and incorporated the permanent retention of known roosting habitat for the microbats.