Rivers and creeks

Council works to protect and improve our natural waterways.

Projects include management plans, water quality monitoring, large scale erosion control and revegetation works.

Waterways health reports Awards Estuary management plans River health grants Water quality monitoring Platypus Osprey Additional reading

Rivers creeks hero

Tweed waterways health report

View the interactive 2021 Tweed waterways report

Waterways health reports Here you will discover more about the Tweed’s water quality and the different perspectives of aquatic ecosystem health held by Tweed waterway users.

Council produces an annual water quality report card for the Tweed’s waterways, including estuaries, catchment and coastal creeks.

The report card rates the quality of waterways across the Tweed, and Council and community projects.

Previous reports

Tweed River management awards

Thiess International Riverprize

Tweed Shire Council was recognised in 2021 as one of 3 top leaders in global river management at the prestigious 21st Thiess International Riverprize for its work on the Tweed River.

This overview video highlights some of the work done on the Tweed River as part of the Tweed River Management Program.

Local Government NSW Excellence in the Environment Award

Before riverbank reconstruction
Before riverbank reconstruction.
After riverbank reconstruction
After riverbank reconstruction. What a difference!
Established riparian restoration
Established riparian restoration.

Council’s innovative Oxley Riverbank erosion stabilisation project, funded through the River Health Grant program, won a 2018 Local Government NSW Excellence in the Environment Award under the ‘Natural Environment Protection and Enhancement: On-Ground Works’ category. The awards recognise outstanding achievements by local government in managing and protecting the environment.

The project involved working together with three private landowners at Eungella to deliver large scale earthworks and riverbank reconstruction at two sites after tropical cyclone Debbie left extensive damage and severe bank erosion.

Riverbanks were battered and covered with erosion control matting before 250 recycled hardwood logs were installed to stabilise the riverbanks and improve aquatic and riverside habitat. More than 2000 native trees, shrubs and groundcovers were also planted and riverside fencing installed to provide long-term stability.

Since completion in December 2017, both sites have been extremely successful in preventing further erosion and restored riparian vegetation has survived a number of major flood events.

Estuary management plans

Tweed River Estuary Management Plan

Tweed River estuary management plan

Council has prepared a 10 year management plan for the Tweed River Estuary(PDF, 10MB). The plan contains detailed background information on the issues affecting the river, and a list of actions that will be implemented to sustain its environmental and recreational values.

A significant number of technical studies were undertaken in the preparation of the management plan. These are listed in the contents.

Please contact Council’s waterways team if you would like to access any of the technical studies on 02 6670 2400.

Tweed Coast Estuaries Management Plan

Council manages the 3 Tweed Coast Creeks that meet the ocean at Kingscliff, Hastings Point and Pottsville. The values of and issues affecting Cudgen, Cudgera and Mooball Creeks are detailed in the Tweed Coast Estuaries Management Plan 2013(PDF, 4MB).

River Health Grants


Council undertakes rehabilitation of waterways on public land, and on private land in cooperation with owners. Council’s River Health Grants program provides support for land owners wishing to undertake work on their property that will lead to improvements in water quality and stream health.

To achieve this, the scheme will supply funding for projects to address typical problems found on our waterways, including bank erosion, unrestricted stock access to waterways, lack of riparian vegetation and weed infestations. To improve the hygiene of our water supplies a priority activity will be to supply fencing materials and drinking troughs for stock throughout the catchment.

Applications can be made by completing the online Expression of Interest form. The next step will be a site visit to assess the potential benefit of restoration projects.

River Health Grants Program fact sheet(PDF, 981KB)

Riparian Habitat for Wildlife fact sheet(PDF, 525KB)

Native plants

Water quality and waterway health monitoring


Tweed River report 2019(PDF, 1MB)

Stormwater pollution guide(PDF, 3MB)

Council recently commissioned two water quality assessments as background studies for a new Tweed River Estuary Management Program currently being prepared.

Both examined compliance with aquatic ecosystem protection targets for the Tweed River and Terranora-Cobaki Broadwaters between 2012 and 2016.

Read the reports.

Find out more about the Tweed River Estuary Management Program

Council undertakes regular water quality monitoring in the freshwater and estuarine reaches of the Tweed River, and the Tweed Coastal Creeks.

Data is collected and analysed by the Tweed Laboratory, and is regularly reviewed in order to present the findings of these investigations.

The Tweed Laboratory Centre is a multi-million dollar facility offering a comprehensive range of chemical and biological testing for soil and water.

The following reports present these findings.

Tweed and Rous River Water Quality Assessment 2017(PDF, 4MB)

Terranora and Cobaki Water Quality Assessment 2017(PDF, 5MB)

Water Quality Assessment Tweed River Upper Catchment

Upper Tweed Catchment Water Quality Assessment(PDF, 11MB)

Tweed Estuary Water Quality Review 2007-2011 - Final Report

Tweed Shire Council has undertaken a water quality monitoring program in the Tweed estuary since 2007. The data span a wide range of wet and dry climatic conditions and therefore provide a comprehensive picture of water quality variation in the Tweed estuary. This report provides an analysis of temporal and spatial trends in water quality, identifies likely controlling processes and discusses ecological implications.

Full Report(PDF, 5MB)

Executive Summary(PDF, 2MB)

Cudgera Creek and Kerosene Inlet, Fingal Head

Australian Wetlands was commissioned by the Tweed Shire Council (TSC) to undertake a baseline ecological health assessment for the Cudgera Creek estuary at Hastings Point and Kerosene Inlet on Letitia Spit Fingal Head, NSW. The project involved the collection and identification of benthic macroinvertebrates, water and sediment quality assessment as well as on-site assessment of seagrass health.

Baseline Ecological Assessment Report Cudgera Creek and Kerosene Inlet, Tweed Coast(PDF, 1MB)

Cobaki and Terranora Broadwater Ecosystem Health Monitoring Program

This report card shows the results of an estuary health investigation conducted by Tweed Shire Council in Cobaki and Terranora Broadwaters and their catchments. Water Quality and other estuary health indicators, for example sea grass condition, have been measured for 12 months, and the results analysed to provide a description of the overall condition of the entire system.

Report Card 2009(PDF, 7MB) and Technical Report 2009(PDF, 31MB)

Estuarine Vegetation Monitoring

Estuarine Vegetation Monitoring Program(PDF, 1MB)

Older Water Quality Monitoring Reports

Spatially Intensive Approach to Water Quality Monitoring in the Rous River Catchment - Bradley Eyre and Peter Pepperell - December, 1997(PDF, 5MB)

Water Quality in the Upper Tweed Catchment - KEC Science - May 1999(PDF, 3MB)

Tweed River Water Quality Review - WBM Oceanics Australia(PDF, 3MB)

Additional reading

Coastal management

Erosion and sediment control

When it rains, large volumes of soil and sediment are washed into waterways from exposed soil on building, development and road and infrastructure construction sites.

This runoff pollutes the Coast’s waterways and stormwater systems, causing excessive growth of algae, smothering sea grasses and aquatic life and reducing both biodiversity and the value of our recreational fisheries by suffocating or driving away fish. Sediment runoff can also lead to road hazards and localised flooding.

Polluting waterways and stormwater systems also means increased costs to maintain infrastructure and canals. This form of pollution is manageable and can be minimised.

Council has a role to play in educating residents, businesses, builders and developers about the importance of minimising soil and sediment runoff as well as regulating the installation of adequate control measures.

Council seeks to ensure that those who cause land disturbance understand the issues of concern, plan their developments appropriately, and manage their sites in the best way possible to protect the environment and in particular the coast’s waterways. Legislation exists which provides for penalties and the ability for Council to instigate legal action against those who do not use the correct erosion and sediment control measures. This legislation allows for the issue of penalty infringement notices to be issued for certain minor breaches and the serving of notices and orders which may result in court proceedings for major offences causing environmental harm.

Erosion and sediment control for developers

Developers should refer to Development Design Specification D7 - Stormwater Quality(PDF, 552KB) for details of how to manage stormwater during the construction phase to minimise erosion and sediment generation.

Useful links

Question: Do I need permission from Council to undertake erosion control works in tidal waters, including canals?

Answer: Yes. Property owners who wish to undertake erosion control works in tidal waters, including canals, need approval from Council. Property owners who wish to undertake erosion control works in freshwater reaches of the Tweed River or one of its tributaries will need consent from the NSW Office of Water. 

Tidal wetlands and fish habitat

Large areas of the lower Tweed River estuary are comprised of tidal wetlands, including seagrass, mangroves and saltmarsh. These areas are extremely valuable fish habitats. Tidal wetlands are protected by NSW legislation. 

Riparian vegetation

The Importance of Riparian Vegetation to the health and stability of aquatic systems.

Riparian Vegetation(PDF, 85KB)

River management educational resources

Please select the required educational resource from the list supplied below:

Tweed River entrance sand bypassing project

The Tweed River Entrance Sand Bypassing Project is a sand transport system that collects sand from the southern side of the Tweed River entrance and pumps it under the river to outlets on the northern side. From there sand is transported by wave currents to nourish southern Gold Coast beaches. This process also aims to keep the entrance to the Tweed River clear of sand to improve navigation for boats.

Please visit tweedsandbypass.nsw.gov.au for more information.

Tweed Landcare

Tweed Landcare