Coast and Waterways

2022 Floods - Riverbank Erosion Support

Riverbank Erosion.JPG

Local Land Services is working with rural landholders to understand riverbank erosion issues resulting from the recent flooding events.

Click HERE(PDF, 666KB) for more information. 


Coast and Rivers

Council has a strong commitment to the protection and enhancement of our precious coast and river systems.

The Bellingen Local Government Area (LGA) coastline extends approximately 10kms from Oyster Creek in the south to Tuckers Rocks in the north, including the northern end of North Valla Beach, Hungry Head Beach, North Hungry Head Beach and North Beach.

It is one of the least developed coastal areas on the NSW north coast. Much of the foreshore is retained in public ownership, protecting an area of unique natural values that may also provide greater resilience to existing coastal processes and the impacts of future sea level rise.

The Bellingen Shire foreshores are much loved by people both across the region and further afield, who are drawn by it’s beauty and tranquillity.  Commonly known as where the ‘rivers meet the sea’, it is the place where coastal, valley and mountain communities come together.

Two major river systems, the Kalang and the Bellinger, jointly enter the Pacific Ocean at the township of Urunga between North Hungary Head Beach and North Beach. The plateau contains the headwaters of the Nymboydia and Clarence rivers.

Coastal Zone Management Plan

This plan was adopted in 2014 and will be superseded by the Coastal Management Program at the end of 2022 (see below). Council is still working towards completing actions in this plan.

Dalhousie Creek

Dalhousie Creek is located immediately south of Hungry Head. The creek, sometimes referred to as Hungry Head Lagoon, is classified as an Intermittently Closed and Open Lake or Lagoon (ICOLL) and has its entrance to the ocean at Hungry Head Beach.

The area is a highly dynamic coastal environment, which is subject to a large range of influences including the effects of climate change and sea level rise. The position of the Dalhousie Creek entrance as well as water levels within the creek are critical in determining the accessibility, amenity and public safety of this section of beach. Until 1997, artificial entrance opening was undertaken annually for the purpose of controlling the entrance location. Since 1997, the creek usually remains closed, but still opens naturally once or twice a year in response to rainfall, beach state and ocean conditions.

Several projects have been funded from the NSW Government to implement the actions identified in the Coastal Zone Management Plan.

- Dalhousie Creek Entrance Management Strategy

- Vegetation Management Plan

- Signage about ICOLS

- Coast Snap

- Beach berm realignment works

Council has installed a Coast Snap point on the headland at Hungry Head to monitor the entrance of Dalhousie Creek. Next time you visit, use your smartphone to measure beach change and help us understand and manage our dynamic coast.

Check out the images from Hungry Head in Urunga below and get more information about how you can get involved HERE.


Dalhousie Creek Entrance Management Strategy Part 1(PDF, 13MB)

Dalhousie Creek Entrance Management Strategy Part 2(PDF, 6MB)

Dalhousie Creek Vegetation management plan(PDF, 4MB)

Coastal Management Program

Bellingen Shire Council (Council) has received funding under the Coastal and Estuary Grants Program – Planning Stream 2020-2021; with the commitment to complete the preparation of a Coastal Management Program (CMP) over the next 12 months in consultation with the community and relevant public authorities. It will identify coastal management issues and the actions required to address these issues in a strategic and integrated way. It will also identify the costs and proposed cost-sharing arrangements and other viable funding mechanisms for achieving the Actions. 

The preparation of the Coastal Management Program is guided by the NSW Government’s Coastal Management Manual.

There are 5 Stages in the CMP process:

Stage 1: Scoping Study of what needs to be included in the plan and identify any gaps in knowledge - Completed;

BSC-Adopted_CMP_scoping-study.pdf(PDF, 20MB)

Stage 2: Focuses on a detailed assessment of risks, vulnerabilities and opportunities - Current Phase;

Bellingen CMP Project Page

Stage 3: Identifies and evaluates management actions;

Stage 4: Preparation, exhibition and adoption of the CMP; and

Stage 5: Implementation, monitoring and evaluation

As part of stage 2 Council has undertaken community and stakeholder engagement as well as preparation of a Water Quality Management Plan. This brochure(PDF, 2MB) provides a summary of the outcomes of the engagement. For a more detailed view of the issues raised please click the link to the Bellingen CMP Project Page above and view the interactive map. Stage 2 is now being finalised and will be released to the public once completed.

The Water Quality Management Plan was recommended to be completed as part of stage 2 to address gaps in the knowledge and management of water quality within the Bellinger and Kalang river catchments. The plan is now in the final stages of drafting and will be released to the public once completed.  


Water Quality

Council is a program partner to Bellingen River Watch, a citizen science program managed by Oz Green. Bellingen Riverwatch was created to provide consistent water quality data in the Bellinger and Kalang catchments following a disease outbreak that caused a mass death event of the Critically Endangered Bellinger River Snapping Turtle (BRST) in early 2015. A lack of water quality data was identified by scientists and community alike as a priority focus area. We assist the 40 volunteers and 5 schools to test water quality at 30 sites by funding testing equipment and providing ongoing professional guidance to the team

Bellingen Riverwatch Water Quailty Results


River Rehabilitation Projects

By addressing problems such as weed invasion, lack of native tree cover, erosion and sedimentation, these projects enable Council to work with the community to ensure healthy rivers are maintained and improved now and for our future. Council’s river rehabilitation projects are funded through external grants, often with matching contributions from Council’s Environment Levy and/or private landholders.  Selection of project sites and activities depends on a range of factors including:

  • grant priorities and eligible activities
  • landholder interest, capacity to provide matching contributions (cash and/or in-kind) and commitment to follow-up maintenance
  • strategic priorities (often guided by management plans, studies and/or condition assessments).


Restoring Reserves of the Never Never

This project is a NSW Environmental Trust funded project partnership with the Never Never Catchment Group and is due for completion in December 2021. Bellingen Shire Council and Never Never Catchment Group are working in partnership to protect and enhance the riparian zone within Earl Preston Reserve adjacent to the Never Never River and Timboon Road, Gleniffer.  The vegetation includes an Endangered Ecological Community, which is threatened by invasive plants and compaction from stock and vehicle access. Rock Groynes were placed in the river to manage erosion and mature weed trees were removed and mulched, juvenile weeds are being managed and the width of the riparian zone will be increased by revegetation and fencing. This will improve the stability of the eroding river bank and complement rehabilitation on the opposite river bank. Stock and vehicle access will be controlled by fencing plantings.  Community working bees have provided enrichment planting  and interpretive signs provide an opportunity to involve the local community and to raise awareness of local environmental assets, riparian rehabilitation techniques and priorities in Council's Gleniffer Reserves Master Plan.










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Snapping Turtle

Oxleyean Pygmey Pearch

Landowner guide to planning in-stream works