The Upper Hawkesbury River flows through the LGA, from Wisemans Ferry to Yarramundi, a total length of around 76km. The tidal limit of the Hawkesbury River occurs at Yarramundi, approximately 140km upstream of the river mouth.
There are a number of major tributaries from the Upper Hawkesbury River including the Colo, Nepean, Macdonald and Grose Rivers and other tributaries like South Creek, Redbank Creek, Rickabys Creek, Webbs Creek and Cattai Creek.
The catchment has a distinct appearance. From the Grose River junction to Lower Portland the channel is sandy. Around Windsor the channel has large meanders and wide floodplains. There are also lagoons and floodplain wetlands like Pitt Town Lagoon and Long Neck Lagoon which provide significant bird habitat and are listed on the register of the National Estate. From Windsor to Sackville the river is wide and deep and the flat banks are cleared and cultivated.
From Sackville to Wisemans Ferry the river remains wide and deep with steep sandstone cliffs that are characterised by native vegetation, similar in appearance to the conditions 200 years ago.
The Upper Hawkesbury River is utilised for a range of activities. There is water skiing and wakeboarding particularly between Windsor and Wisemans Ferry. Kayaking is popular in the natural areas of the Colo River and Webbs Creek. Commercial fishers and prawn trawlers operate in the river, particularly downstream of Sackville. There is a ferry services at Sackville, Lower Portland and Wisemans Ferry. There is public access to the banks of the River at a number of locations and two Council owned boat ramps.
Most of the banks of the river are in private ownership. This is one of the key pressures on the Upper Hawkesbury River. This landuse along the bank of the river directly impacts on the waterway by changing the shape of the river bank, putting pollutants into the river and introducing exotic species, particularly weeds.
To better manage all the pressures on the river a Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) has been prepared. As part of the preparation of the CZMP there was lots of consultation with landowers and key river users. The CZMP also looked in detail at some of the areas of erosion and structures (like jetties and seawalls) that have been built along the river and also areas of weed infestation, particularly the species Arundo donax, the giant weed.
The CZMP is a document which identifies how Council plans to manage the Upper Hawkesbury River over the next 5-10 years. Thirty nine Action Plans have been developed which will provide the greatest benefit to estuary health and environmental sustainability. The CZMP can be viewed online.
The supporting documents which were important in the preparation of the CZMP include the Synthesis Report which is a summary of available literature about the River and the Bank Erosion, Foreshore Structure and Weed Mapping Report and the Community Consulation Report which is a summary of the outcomes of the consultation which took place during the preparation of the CZMP.
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