Water Journal : Water Journal April 2013
WATER APRIL 2013 94 Feature Article ABSTRACT An Estuary Management Plan (EMP) for the Tuggerah Lakes on the NSW Central Coast was adopted by Wyong Shire Council in 2006 and provides a strategic framework for Wyong Shire Council's management of the lake system. In 2007, under the Australian Government's Caring for our Country initiative, an election commitment supporting the implementation activities within the Tuggerah Lakes EMP was announced. The delivery of EMP activities funded under Caring for our Country are multi- disciplined and delivered collaboratively across other state agencies, the Catchment Management Authority and NGOs, with Wyong Shire Council as the lead. Activities include streambank and natural areas rehabilitation, saltmarsh and wetland restoration and protection, riparian management activities with landholders and modelling of estuary processes, as well as community awareness and education programs. While a signi cant requirement under Caring for our Country is the implementation of a suitable evaluation process enabling reporting on project deliverables and outcomes, Wyong Shire Council also wanted to establish processes to adaptively manage the program as well as use the evaluation report to inform the review of their EMP. This article will discuss the participatory process of developing a sound evaluation process, the development of evaluation capacity with Wyong Shire and their partners, and present one case associated with saltmarsh rehabilitation to illustrate how the catchment program has been adaptively managed through its implementation. BACKGROUND The Tuggerah Lakes estuary comprises three shallow coastal lagoons within the Wyong Shire just to the north of Sydney, New South Wales. The interconnected lakes are Tuggerah Lake, Budgewoi Lake and Lake Munmorah (refer to Figure 1). The tidal ushing via the entrance contributes very little to circulation and mixing patterns, with the majority of water entering the estuary from the catchment. The estuary has been impacted by sediments and associated nutrients as a result of land-use changes since European settlement in the area. The estuary has been described in the Estuary Management Study (Roberts and Dickinson, 2005) as having experienced three historical stages, as summarised in Table 1. An overall framework for the co-ordinated management of the Lakes was required to ensure that ongoing development was sustainable. Wyong Shire Council adopted the Tuggerah Lakes Estuary Management Plan (EMP) in 2006, in accordance with the NSW Estuary Management Policy, following a nine-year development period that included detailed technical studies and consultation. The EMP includes priorities and costings, providing the Council with a strategic direction for the sustainable management of the estuary and its associated catchments (Wyong Shire Council, 2010). The delivery of the EMP is supported by a $20 million Australian Government Caring for our Country grant. The rst stage of the grant provided $8.6 million and the second stage, which is due to end in June 2013, has committed a further $11.4 million. The work funded under the second stage of Caring for our Country enabled APPLYING EVALUATION PRACTICES IN THE MANAGEMENT OF THE TUGGERAH LAKES ESTUARY Helen Watts, Director of Evaluation and Sustainability Services, and co-authors Matthew Barnett, Nicole McGaharan, Angela Halcrow and David Ryan from the Wyong Shire Council Estuary Management Team, outline the process of developing a sound estuarine evaluation process and present a case study involving saltmarsh rehabilitation. Figure 1. Tuggerah Lakes System.
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