EcoNetwork – Port Stephens has called for the beginning of groundwork to align estuary management processes with current best environmental practices that will enable sustainable management of the Port Stephens estuary, its environs, foreshores and catchments.
Our objectives, guided by the Precautionary Principle, are:
- A literature review and assessment of the main contemporary and historical hydrological, sand accretion and migration, and siltation studies conducted on the Port Stephens estuary, towards a review and update of the Port Stephens / Myall Lakes Estuary Management Plan 2000.
- To review existing best practice in adaptive estuarine and ecosystem management processes and identify deleterious human activities impacting on these processes and associated marine biodiversity.
- To support the establishment in Port Stephens of Sustainable Neighbourhoods initially to address climate change and the estuarine and coastal impacts of sea-level rise, increased storm surge and later to address all aspects of sustainability.
- To identify and maintain natural carrying capacities for activities, areas and ecosystems as a whole, where these are found to be excessive moratoriums and other constraints must be considered.
- To develop a capacity to more accurately foresee the potential impacts of major storm events, ocean warming and sea-level rise on estuary processes, foreshores and human activity.
- To establish a holistic resource and knowledge base of natural and related estuary processes and human influences.
- To recognise that ultimately, the estuary management plan will need to be reviewed and updated to become part of an Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan (ICZMP), to provide the overarching governance instrument and participatory democratic process needed for sustainable outcomes for the Port Stephens estuary, its foreshores and environs.
- To arrange for the appropriate Council, State, Federal Authorities, their Agencies, relevant professionals, NGO’s and other stakeholders to consider these objectives and identify the formal steps needed to achieve them.
A call for a review and update of the PS/ML Estuary Management Plan 2000 was presented to the Port Stephens / Myall Lakes Estuary Management Committee at its February 16 – 2011 meeting which decided that a review and update would be dependent on obtaining the necessary funding in the 2012 budgets of the Port Stephens and Great Lakes Councils. EcoNetwork continues to pursue this objective.