The coastal environment
The urban area of Sutherland Shire is surrounded by coastal waters, including Bate Bay, Botany Bay, the Georges River estuaries, Port Hacking and Woronora River.
Our coast is dynamic. The beaches at Cronulla and Kurnell are continually subjected to ocean waves and storm surges, which cause short-term beach erosion and long-term beach recession.
Estuaries are defined by the interplay of daily tides, ocean swells and freshwater inflows.
This constant water movement causes the continual shifting of marine sands in Port Hacking. Fine sediment from local catchments and estuaries collect at the heads of the bays in Port Hacking and in the Georges River. Fluvial flooding of the Woronora River estuary is influenced by downstream water levels in the Georges River.
Since European settlement, flat, low-lying areas at the heads of the estuarine bays have been progressively reclaimed for landfill, playing fields and urban development. These areas are subject to oceanic, hydrological, ecological and geomorphologic processes.
NSW coastal management framework
The NSW Government's coastal management framework aims to achieve a healthy and resilient coastline.
The framework is implemented through Coastal Management Programs (CMPs), which are prepared by local councils and set long-term, coordinated and sustainable management directions.
Our staged approach to CMPs
Sutherland Shire has three CMPs:
- Bate Bay CMP: Stage 4 has been completed. Stage 5 includes beach nourishment, the upgrade of the Esplanade between Cronulla and North Cronulla beaches and the construction of a seawall at Dunningham Park.
- Georges River and Catchments CMP: CMP Stage 1 has been completed by Georges Riverkeeper, with a focus on improving the ecological health of the river.
- Port Hacking CMP: Stage 1 is set to begin and will be overseen by Council’s Port Hacking Management Sub-Committee. The CMP will focus on balancing the environment and recreation.
Estuary studies and management plans
- Bundeena Creek Management Plan
- Ewey Creek Management Plan
- Gunnamatta Bay Contaminated Sediment Study
- Gunnamatta Bay Estuary Management Plan
- Gymea Bay Estuary Management Plan
- Port Hacking Integrated Environmental Management Plan (Bibliography)
- Port Hacking - Past and Present of an Estuarine Environment
- Woronora Estuary Management Plan
- Yowie Bay Estuary Management Study & Plan
- North West Arm Coastal Zone Management Plan
Sutherland Shire Council is an active member of Georges Riverkeeper and the Sydney Coastal Councils Group. These groups advocate for improving the health and resilience of our coasts and estuaries.