Nerang River Keepers

The Gold Coast is a water city. There are five distinct waterway courses on the Gold Coast, which form the folllowing ‘catchments’:

– Albert – Logan
– Coomera
– Broadwater
– Nerang
– Tallebudgera and Currumbin (including Coolangatta)

Restored waterway in Pimpama
A restored waterway in Pimpama, by North East Albert Landcare

By definition, a catchment is an area with a natural boundary, where surface water flows to the central waterway. From source at the hinterland to the ocean, this flow of water defines distinct boundaries, where smaller reserves, creeks, lakes and canals, and larger rivers and wetlands connect the freshwater, estuarine and marine environments. Wherever you see water, it is part of a catchment.

The Gold Coast community is proud of Gold Coast waterways and catchments and there are many catchment care initiatives transforming the health of the water quality, resilience of the riparian zone and connecting natural areas.

NerangRiver_c_t(3)For instance, Nerang Riverkeepers are an award-winning Landcare group who have inspired a new way to engage the local community of Nerang to care for the Nerang River.

They were formed in 2000 to tackle environmental issues such as weed infestation and illegal rubbish dumping in the Kirkendale Environmental Park on the Gold Coast. They successfully restored the area with planting 3000 native plants, removing weeds and in effect of beautifying the area illegal rubbish dumping stopped! They soon moved onto Hurst Park to tackle similar issues, then to Weedons Crossing, Swift Park, Country Paradise Parklands, Batton’s Reserve, Crane Creek, Water Dragon Creek and school grounds, correctional centres… can you see a pattern?

“Where an environmental issue exists they have collaborated with the right partners and inspired community action”

The Gold Coast’s Biggest Tree Planting Day is their most recent inspiring cutting-edge approach to engaging people to care for the Nerang River.They instigated the need to re-think the way the community is engaged in Landcare as they – similarly to other Landcare groups, recognised a natural attrition of volunteer participation. An outcome of a stakeholder meeting they hosted evolved the traditional monthly community planting day model to one-off-larger events while utilising the same resource pool (e.g. time, money, landscape scope). This meant they could invest more into the planning and marketing of their Landcare initiatives to encourage larger crowds of volunteers to plant 1000, 2000, 5000, then 10,000 and 12,000 plants at one event!

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Over 900 people have volunteered their time planting 27,000 plants in three annual events
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The 2015 Gold Coast’s Biggest Tree Planting Day event, in front a restored wetland planted in 2013 and 2014

This approached has fast-tracked their Country Paradise Parklands wetland restoration project by many years, which is now a beautiful spot to have a picnic and watch water birds. They meet every weekend at Country Paradise Parklands in Nerang, almost every Saturday from 8am – 12pm. Volunteers are welcome to join their activities, which are great for all ages and fitness levels.

To find out more information about Nerang Riverkeepers please contact Mark Tierney, 5527 87 33, 0477 609 112, carclinic@bigpond.com

To find out how you can care for Gold Coast’s catchments please contact the City of Gold Coast Catchment Management Unit via their website.