A setback for river and riparian ecosystems: A response to the New South Wales Office of Water 2012 policy on riparian corridors

Christopher D. Ives, Mark Patrick Taylor, Peter J. Davies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The New South Wales Office of Water recently introduced reforms to its policy for controlled activities on waterfront land, for the purpose of liberating housing supply. Minimum riparian corridor widths will now be based on stream order as determined by the 60-year-old Strahler method, and offsetting will allow for the encroachment of works within a corridor. Such changes are not predicated on scientific evidence and will likely compromise the environmental health of rivers and riparian systems. First, using stream order to determine riparian setbacks is misaligned with catchment-specific environmental priorities and will not provide certainty for stakeholders due to legal-environmental difficulties in determining the presence of a bona fide river. Secondly, enabling offsetting of works elsewhere along a riparian corridor also risks undermining the efficacy of a riparian corridor's functional- ity. Finally, the lack of public consultation and prioritising immediate economic gain over long-term environmental protection is contrary to best practice environmental management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-131
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental and Planning Law Journal
Volume30
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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