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Council launches plans to address Hunter River erosion

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Boating, unauthorised vehicles and illegal dumping are being blamed for extensive erosion destroying the banks of the Hunter River. 

This month, Maitland City Council will utilise state government grant funding to address local concerns around erosion at three sites within its LGA. 

The Vibrant River Education Program is focusing on Morpeth, Lorn and Melville Ford. 

All three have stream bank erosion thought to have been caused by boats, loss of vegetation, and the illegal dumping of vehicles. 

The program will introduce signage, points of interest, tree planting, educate on existing barriers and beautification at the affected sites.  

Concept plans for each of the three sites are on public exhibition until Tuesday 26 March.

The community is being offered a chance to give its feedback, which will help inform works set to take place between April and September this year.  

erosion
MCC principal estuary officer Deanne Nelson-Pritchard and acting manager environment and sustainability Michelle Lindsay.

Community feedback after the July 2022 floods concerning a lack of vegetation and erosion, particularly in Lorn, sparked Maitland City Council to “widen the scope of proposed works”, according to acting manager environment and sustainability Michelle Lindsay. 

“Day-to-day actions and activities can have long-lasting impacts on the health of the river,” she explained.

“Four-wheel-drive vehicles on the riverbank and riverbed are destroying vegetation that holds the soil together, resulting in poorer water quality and further erosion.” 

The measures mapped out in the concept plans aim to mitigate further erosion and also improve community understanding around the fragility of the riverbank.  

“Loss of vegetation, extreme water level changes and tyre tracks are all factors that lead to erosion along our river ecosystem,” Ms Lindsay adds. 

“We want to make our community aware of these facts, and work together to address them.” 

Throughout the project, council will also collaborate with Mindaribba Local Aboriginal Land Council in Morpeth, on interactive elements that offer new educational interpretation of the Queens Wharf site.  

For more information and to view the three concept plans, visit mait.city/vibrant-river-education.  

This project was funded through the New South Wales Government’s Coastal and Estuary Program. 

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