The Hawkesbury and its Tributaries

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 flowing into 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.

Boat ramps and Jetties

Council has a formal boat ramp at Governor Phillip Park, Windsor, to give boating access to the Hawkesbury River. Ample trailer parking is available and there are amenities and a fish-cleaning table on site. The ramp is open to the public 24hrs except during major boating events like the Bridge to Bridge. The dates of these closures are advertised prior to the events.

Informal boat ramps are also located at Holmes Drive Reserve, Cumberland Reach and Skeleton Rocks Reserve, Lower Portland. These ramps have no additional facilities, limited parking and are not suitable for large watercraft.

Council has three canoe access jetties located at: Macquarie Park, Freemans Reach; Hanna Park, North Richmond and Colo Park, Colo. These give access to the Hawkesbury and Colo Rivers.

Governor Phillip Park boat ramp

Informal canoe access to the Hawkesbury river can be achieved at: Yarramundi Reserve, Yarramundi; Navua Reserve, Grose Wold and Skeleton Rocks Reserve, Lower Portland.

Informal canoe access to the Colo River can be achieved at Upper Colo Reserve, Upper Colo and Skeleton Rocks Reserve, Lower Portland.

Informal canoe access to the Macdonald River can be achieved at St Albans Park, St Albans, depending on river levels.

Coastal Zone Management Plan

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 extensive 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 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

Wetlands of the Hawkesbury

There are many common names for wetlands; swamps, saltmarshes, billabongs, lagoons, fens and peat lands to name a few. Wetlands can be permanently or seasonally inundated with water and have unique soil conditions that support characteristic wetland vegetation.

Wetlands are important for many environmental, social and economic reasons and they play a key role in how our environment functions. They help purify incoming flows of water by removing nutrients and other pollutants, act as natural sinks and reduce flooding, and support life during times of drought.

The Hawkesbury-Nepean catchment contains many significant wetlands occurring from the floodplains of the rivers to the upland swamps of the Blue Mountains. For further information on wetlands see the links below.

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