Coastal management toolkit

The coastal management toolkit contains information and guidance to help councils to manage the NSW coast and prepare coastal management programs.

The toolkit provides additional technical information to help councils to meet the requirements of the Coastal Management Act 2016 (CM Act), the State Environmental Planning Policy (Coastal Management) 2018 and the coastal management manual (the manual).

The toolkit contains links to additional resources that councils may find useful in preparing and implementing a coastal management program (CMP).

The toolkit will be updated as new information becomes available.

Key guidelines to support preparation of coastal management programs

Community and stakeholder engagement

The Community and stakeholder engagement guidelines provide advice to assist councils to identify stakeholders, establish engagement outcomes, appropriate engagement methods and tools and the importance of processes that strengthen relationships and trust. A list of relevant engagement references is included.

Coastal erosion and inundation hazard risk assessment

The guidelines for coastal erosion and inundation hazard risk assessment in New South Wales provide additional information to assist councils undertaking coastal hazard and risk assessments.

Risk-based framework for considering waterway health

This Risk-based Framework for Considering Waterway Health Outcomes in Strategic Land-use Planning Decisions in Strategic Land-use Planning Decisions provides information to assist councils to consider the potential impacts of land-use change on a coastal waterway, evaluate risks and identify appropriate management responses.

Management options

The Management options guideline provides additional advice on potential management options that can be used to reduce risks and foster opportunities in each of the four coastal management areas.

Using cost-benefit analysis to assess coastal management options

The guidelines for using cost-benefit analysis to assess coastal management options provides advice to councils on the use of cost-benefit analysis for evaluating the viability of coastal management options and determining how costs could be allocated.

Preparing a coastal zone emergency action subplan

The guidance for preparing a coastal zone emergency action subplan contains additional information that councils may find useful when preparing a coastal zone emergency management subplan (CZEAS) under the CM Act.

Floodplain risk management

These guidelines assist councils to consider interactions between catchment flooding and oceanic inundation.

Landslide risk management

This additional information and guidance assists councils consider the risks of slope instability on coastal cliffs and bluffs.

Glossary of coastal management and planning terms

This glossary includes definitions of terms that are in common use when describing coastal environments, coastal processes and hazards, and coastal management.

Additional resources

Funding and financing

Funding for preparation and implementation of a CMP is available through the NSW Coastal and Estuary Grants Program.

The Office of Local Government website provides information about rating and revenue guidelines, including guidelines for special rate variation applications.

Climate change and adaptation planning

The Adapt NSW site provides a variety of resources to help understand and adapt to the impacts of climate change in New South Wales.

The sea level rise – science and synthesis for NSW report contains a synthesis of sea level rise research applicable to New South Wales.

The CoastAdapt site provides extensive resources to support coastal decision makers adapting to climate change and sea level rise in Australia.

The Climate Change Decision Support for Adaptation Kit (HCCREMS 2013) provides a variety of resources to assist local councils to determine the appropriate actions for their communities as they relate to planning for climate change adaptation.

Prioritising Coastal Adaptation and Development Options for Local Government (Sydney Coastal Councils Group 2014) provides advice on the adaptation options available to respond to the risks of coastal inundation and erosion due to climate change.

Engineers Australia guidelines

Engineers Australia has prepared several guidelines to assist in coastal management and planning.

Wetland management

The Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) wetlands site provides additional information and resources about wetlands in New South Wales.

The Saltwater Wetland Rehabilitation Manual (OEH) (PDF 5.9MB) is a resource for the management of saltwater wetlands.

The Best practice guidelines for coastal saltmarsh (OEH) (879KB) is a resource for the management of coastal saltmarsh.

WET eBook: Workbook for Managing Urban Wetlands in Australia (Sydney Olympic Park Authority)

The Wetlandcare Australia site provides information about protecting and restoring Australian wetlands.

Littoral rainforests

The OEH Littoral Rainforest site provides information about Littoral Rainforest in the NSW North Coast, Sydney Basin and South East Corner Bioregions.

The Commonwealth Government's Littoral Rainforest site provides a guide on how to identify, assess and manage the ecological community.

Coastal sediment compartments

The Geosciences Australia Coastal sediment compartments website provides information on the spatial extent of all sediment compartments on the Australian coast.

NSW water level and nearshore wave transformation tools

The Ocean and coastal waves website provides details of the NSW nearshore wave forecast tool with access to over 35 years of nearshore wave data and water level information along the NSW coastline.

Seawalls in estuaries

Environmentally friendly seawalls: a guide to improving the environmental value of seawalls and seawall lined foreshores in estuaries illustrates ways to improve the environmental value of seawalls and seawall-lined foreshores in estuaries.

How to make your seawall more environmentally friendly presents a short guide to designing new seawalls and improving existing seawalls.

Guidelines for sand nourishment

This guideline provides a concise overview of the main considerations for beach nourishment projects in New South Wales.

Guidelines for seawall adaptation

This guideline provides information to enable decision makers using a risk-based approach to optimise upgrades for existing seawall structures and to design for staged construction of new seawalls that are resilient and adaptive to changing conditions.

Tsunamis Emergency Planning

The Tsunami Emergency Planning in Australia Handbook (PDF 1.2MB) is a guide to the key principles of tsunami preparedness. Its purpose is to enhance the capacity and knowledge of emergency managers with regards to emergency planning for tsunami in Australia. The handbook may assist emergency and coastal managers to develop emergency risk management strategies to deal with the threat of tsunami.

Estuary ecosystems

The Assessing the condition of estuaries and coastal lake ecosystems in NSW (PDF 6.9MB) report describes the scientific methodology used to generate the State of the catchments (SOC) 2010 reports on the condition of estuaries in New South Wales and the pressures influencing their condition.

NSW Environment Protection Authority prepares State of the Environment reports.

Assessing estuary ecosystem health: Sampling, data analysis and reporting protocols (PDF 1.3MB) provides a standardised approach to estuary ecosystem health monitoring, analysis and reporting in New South Wales.

The Guide for managing estuary ecosystems provides information to assist councils to identify, assess and manage threats to estuary ecosystems.

The Estuaries of NSW website provides data on a range of physical characteristics of each estuary in New South Wales including their location, size and a list of available tidal survey reports and hydrographic survey map sheets.

Acid sulfate soils

The Office of Environment and Heritage coastal acid sulfate soils page provides information about the management of acid sulfate soils. This includes:


The Waterwatch Estuary Guide: a guide to community monitoring of water quality and estuary health and the accompanying Waterwatch Estuary field manual: a manual for on-site use in the monitoring of water quality and estuary health, provide information about designing and implementing community monitoring of water quality and estuary health.

Dune management

This Manual of Coastal Dune Management and Rehabilitation Techniques provides information about the rehabilitation and protection of coastal dunes.

Marine Estate Management

The Marine Estate threat and risk assessment identifies priority threats and associated risks to the marine estate at the statewide and regional scale.

Independent Public Inquiry into Coastal Lakes: Final Report

The Independent Public Inquiry into Coastal Lakes: Final Report Healthy Rivers Commission of NSW (PDF 551KB) outlines the findings of the Healthy Rivers Commission of New South Wales inquiry into coastal lakes.

Coastal design

The Coastal Design Guidelines for NSW illustrates how urban design principles can be used to create development that is sensitive to the unique natural, cultural and socio-economic characteristics of coastal places.

Stormwater management

The Office of Environment and Heritage Stormwater site provides a variety of resources to assist local councils and their communities to manage stormwater and its impacts on coastal environments.

Floodplain Development Manual

The Floodplain Development Manual: the management of flood liable land provides guidance on floodplain risk management in New South Wales.

Rates and charges

Office of Local Government provides advice to councils on rates and special variations.