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.
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.
Bate Bay dune management
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.
As part of our Bate Bay CMP, we work with NSW Government’s Soil Conservation Service who act as the site manager on behalf of Council and Crown Lands focusing on coastal dune and vegetation management.
This work includes coastal rehabilitation after major weather events, including the 2022 East Coast Low.
Planting vegetation to build up dunes, constructing and maintaining protective fences along the dune system, treating noxious weeds, sowing seed to maintain native vegetation cover, increasing the diversity of plant species and maintaining formal access ways are all part of their expertise.
The 40-year Kurnell Dune Program manages dune stabilisation which benefits our community and natural environment.
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.