Port Stephens Council monitors the quality of numerous waterways across the Port Stephens LGA to ensure their long-term sustainability for agricultural, environmental and recreation purposes. These include the Hunter River, Williams River, Tilligerry Creek, Windeyer Creek and the Port Stephens waterway.
The Port Stephens/Myall Lakes Estuary Coastal Zone Management Committee was established by Port Stephens Council (PSC) and Great Lakes Council (GLC) to address the requirements of the NSW Estuary Management Manual (1992). There are no longer any requirements to have a Coastal Zone Management Committee however, both Councils recognise the value of the committee providing stakeholder input to implement the Port Stephens/Myall Lakes Estuary Management Plan.
Port Stephens - Great Lakes Marine Park
On the 1 December 2005 the NSW Government established the Port Stephens - Great Lakes Marine Park. The aim of the park is to preserve marine habitats, biological diversity and ecological processes.The boundaries are from Cape Hawke Surf Life Saving Club near Forster to the Northern end of Stockton Beach. It includes all of Port Stephens and the creeks and tributaries to the limit of tidal influence, making it the largest marine park in NSW covering 97,200 hectares.
The Marine Park Authority Structure is made up of representatives from Department of Primary Industries, Department of Environment and Conservation and the Premiers Department.
The Ministers responsible for the authority are the Minister for Primary Industries and the Minister for the Environment and Planning Issues. The Marine Park Authority also has a planning role within the estuary, in particular all development applications within the estuary from now will need the concurrent approval of the Marine Park Authority.
For example, proposed wharves, jetties and aquaculture activities will need to be forwarded to the authority for their approval. Development applications or other proposed activities adjacent to the estuary that could have an impact on the park will need to be forwarded to the authority for their comments. This includes any proposed drainage works that could impact on the estuary.
To help clarify some of the referral requirements, the Marine Park Authority is considering entering into an agreement with Council. This agreement will outline the sorts of proposals that need to be referred to the authority for their comment or their approval. In the meantime however Section Managers should ensure that their staff are aware of these new reporting requirements.The contact details for the new authority are:
All commercial activities within the Marine Park will require a Permit to operate. This will include commercial fishers, tourist operators etc. Existing commercial operators will be granted permits as long as they make application to the authority within 12 months. The permits will be issued at no cost to the operators.
- Port Stephens - Great Lakes Marine Park Marine Protected Areas on the Department of Primary Industries NSW Government website