Exploring different approaches to estuary management in Australia and New Zealand

Ms Jaclyne Scally1

1RM Consulting Group, Torquay, Australia, 2Great Ocean Road Coast Committee, Torquay, Australia


Estuaries around the world have long been places of strong social and economic interest. The flat, alluvial soils and ease of access has seen the establishment of agriculture, horticulture and industry on estuarine floodplains. The availability of resources, including fish, water and building materials such as sand and gravel has supported the development of settlements at estuaries; and historically they have been favoured sites for ports and protected harbours.

Over time, the use and development of estuarine environments has resulted in highly modified landscapes. Vegetation clearing, the introduction of weeds and pest animals, soil disturbance, the application of nutrients and changes in hydrology have directly altered the natural functioning of estuaries.

Estuary managers today are faced with a significant challenge to minimise further impact and restore and protect the ecological functioning of estuaries. This is no easy task given the highly dynamic nature of estuaries, the legacy of past actions, the looming threat of climate change, the large areas of privately owned land surrounding estuaries and the competing social, economic and environmental values.

Across Australia and New Zealand there are examples of NRM agencies working with industry and private landholders to enhance and conserve estuarine environments through a range of mechanisms. This presentation reports the main findings of a study tour undertaken during 2017-18 that explored estuary management approaches at catchments along the Great Barrier Reef, NSW and New Zealand.


Jaclyne is a Consultant with RMCG, based on Victoria’s surf coast. Her work has involved environment and sustainability planning for local government, estuary management planning, NRM program evaluations and community and stakeholder engagement. In 2017, Jaclyne received a Victorian Government grant to undertake a study tour looking at different approaches to estuary management, that seek to address the conflict between private landholders and the environment. This study tour forms the basis of her presentation.

Jaclyne is a board member of the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee and an active member of her local Coastcare group. In her spare time she can be found swimming, surfing or walking by the water.