Coastal Management Program for Sydney Harbour (Australia)

The commercial and social foundations of Sydney are built on Sydney Harbour. BMT helped the New South Wales government to scope a Coastal Management Program to address threats and realise opportunities associated with its environment.

13 December 2018

Coastal Infrastructure Water and Environment

Coastal Management Program for Sydney Harbour (Australia)

The commercial and social foundations of Sydney are built on Sydney Harbour. BMT helped the New South Wales government to scope a Coastal Management Program to address threats and realise opportunities associated with its environment.

Sydney Harbour is a natural wonder on which the commercial and social foundations of greater Sydney are built. At the centre of Australia’s largest city, the globally iconic harbour is subject to legacy issues related to past pressures and uses. The current and future pressures include intensified use, human activity, along with climate and population pressures. These, together with changing stakeholder values, present an array of challenges to government, business and the broader community.

A BMT team of coastal scientists and engineers, climate change adaptation specialists and environmental planners helped the New South Wales government to scope a Coastal Management Program that aims to address threats and realise opportunities associated with the high value estuarine environment. In this study, BMT had to navigate challenges in relation to a new planning process, complexity of the estuarine system and its governance. Current management arrangements were found to be multifaceted, with jurisdictional uncertainty representing a key barrier to management.

As a key outcome, the BMT Scoping Study recommended the establishment of a strategic and coordinated (whole-of-government) management framework for Sydney Harbour (for the first time). Clear benefits for preparing a system-wide Coastal Management Program were identified through a rigorous stakeholder engagement process, including undertaking a first pass risk assessment of climate change and other threats. The study represents the most comprehensive and high-profile Scoping Study to be prepared under the current New South Wales government coastal management framework.

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Image courtesy of Lisa Davey - used with permission

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This article is part of #BestOfBMT (2018) campaign featuring the most interesting projects BMT was involved in throughout the year.

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