What is the Port Stephens CMP coastal zone?

    A coastal zone is the interface between the land and marine environment. More than a third of the NSW population lives in a coastal zone.

    Port Stephens has a unique coastal zone - from its sandy beaches and rocky headlands to its mangroves, salt marshes and wetlands. It stretches from Fern Bay in the south to Yaccaba Headland in the north, including the estuary of Port Stephens. The coastal zone covers area of both Port Stephens Council and Midcoast Council.

    You can see the coastal zone of Port Stephens below, mapped in blue.

    Why do we need a Coastal Management Program?

    Coastal zones are continually changing. It's important to have an understanding of the risks and hazards associated with coastal zones to enable better planning, management and continued enjoyment of the coast now and into the future.

    Council is developing our CMP in line with the Coastal Management Act 2016 and according to the NSW Coastal Management Manual's five step process. This CMP is not just for Council use, but has been designed to guide management of the coast for the entire community.

    Existing infrastructure such as houses, commercial developments, roads, storm water and sewerage systems along some parts of the coast are at risk from these coastal hazards. With climate change and sea level rise, this risk is projected to grow over time increasing exposure both on the open coast and particularly within low lying parts of estuaries. There are also risks to coastal biodiversity values, and to social values such as cultural heritage, and public access and our enjoyment of beaches and coastal areas.

    In the face of these environmental and development pressures, we need a modern, integrated framework that is up to the challenge of meeting our current needs and equipping us to face future challenges.

    The CMP will identify coastal management issues in Port Stephens, the actions required to address these issues, and how and when those actions will be implemented. We will also identify the costs of the actions, proposed cost-sharing arrangements and viable funding mechanisms to ensure the delivery of our CMP.

    Once certified by the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Port Stephens Council will implement the actions in a CMP through our strategic management systems and land-use planning instruments. The finalisation of the Port Stephens CMP is due by December 2021.

    Will the community be consulted?

    Over the next 12 months Council will be engaging the Port Stephens community in order to:

    • Inform the community of the Coastal Management Program and what it means for the future of Port Stephens in terms of the physical, social and economic environment.

    • Gain a good perspective of the characteristics that are valued by the Port Stephens community and NSW stakeholders, and how this will dictate threats to management and the priorities for locations in the future.

    • Raise the profile of the CMP and awareness of Coastal Zone to properties in high risk areas.

    Keep your eye out for Council at upcoming community events where you can help us in the implementation of our CMP. Check back to this page in the coming weeks to find out more about how you can participate and provide your feedback to us online.

    What are the stages of the CMP?

    We are currently at Stage 1 of the CMP process and have been working hard to finalise the CMP Scoping Study. 

    Community engagement and consultation will form the integral components of Stages 2, 3, and 4 of the CMP. We will keep you informed as we progress through these stages. (Download the Port Stephens Council CMP Key Points Document in the attachments)