Environmental issues


The NSW Rivers Environmental Restoration Program

The NSW Rivers Environmental Restoration Program: arresting the decline of nationally important wetlands in Murray-Darling Basin

The Rivers Environmental Restoration Program (RERP) is a $181 million program funded by the NSW and Australian Governments (NSW RiverBank funding of $101.5 million plus $79.62 million Australian Government funding) to arrest the decline of some of the most important and threatened wetland habitats in NSW.

RERP focuses on five areas: Lowbidgee floodplain; Lachlan Wetlands; Macquarie Marshes; Gwydir Wetlands; and Narran Lakes in the Murray-Darling Basin. These areas are among the most important national wetlands for bird breeding and bird species diversity. These systems are considered at risk and effective environmental water management is essential for maintaining healthy and functioning wetland ecosystems and the industries that depend on them.

The Final Report for the Rivers Environmental Restoration Program outlines the significant achievements of the program.

The RERP investment is improving environmental water management by:

Acquisition and management of environmental water

Funding of approximately $147 million is being used to purchase water access licences from willing sellers. Water allocated to these licences has been used to provide water to some of these ailing wetland systems. By increasing the volume and frequency of water delivered, environmental water managers can help support the long-term viability of these critical environments.

Enabling better use of environmental water

Many gaps remain in our understanding of wetland ecosystems. Funding of $8 million has supported research to investigate some of these gaps. The NSW RERP subprogram II has developed innovative tools to help environmental water managers optimise the timing, quantity and duration of environmental flows.

The following fact sheets provide an overview of the NSW RERP subprogram II:

For more information, see the following executive summaries and the Yanga National Park ecological descriptions:

Better delivery of environmental water

Funding of $10 million is being invested to improve the release, management and delivery of environmental flows through a range of activities and structural works. This project is being implemented as a partnership with State Water Corporation who has brought considerable river operation and environmental expertise into the program.

Partnerships for environmental water management on private land

Many significant wetlands are on private land. RERP staff are building partnerships with landholders who manage these systems and examining management options that can be productive and support their wetland values. This subprogram also aims to recognise and foster the significant connection of Aboriginal people to wetlands. Funding of $14.8 million is available under this subprogram, including funding for land purchase and Aboriginal use and values projects in the Lachlan and Lowbidgee.

Aboriginal Use and Values in the Lowbidgee and Lower Lachlan areas

Video transcript (101006TranscriptAboriginalUseandValues.pdf, 12KB).

Page last updated: 28 February 2012