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Riverkeeper Program

The Riverkeeper Program currently coordinates the work of three different organizations undertaking catchment wide bush regeneration and rubbish removal, including:-

·         Aboriginal Riverkeeper Teams employed by Eco Logical Australia as part of the Australian Government Biodiversity Fund grant

·         NSW Department of Corrective Services Riverkeeper Teams and

·        Riverkeeper Green Army teams employed by Conservation Volunteers Australia

The Riverkeeper Green Army Teams have rehabilitated significant areas of bushland across the Georges River catchment. The three teams work across the upper, mid and lower George River as part of the GRCCC Riverkeeper Program.  The Australian Governments Green Army project sees teams of young participants aged 17-24 restoring bushland. Their primary activities involve bush regeneration through weed treatment, natural regeneration and revegetation as well as improving the water quality of the Georges River by cleaning up the waterway through rubbish removal.

Riverkeeper Program delivers significant rubbish collection and bush regeneration results across the Georges River catchment

The GRCCC Riverkeeper Program Report Card for 2014-15 has now been released. The pdf icon Riverkeeper Report Card 2015 (3.24MB) shows the significant resources and effort that has gone into catchment-scale cleanup and bush regeneration, across the Georges River catchment. The Riverkeeper Program removed significant volumes of rubbish from the Georges River foreshores, parklands and tributaries during the year. A total of 99,432kgs of rubbish was collected across eight local government areas and more importantly this was prevented from entering the Georges River.

In addition, four extra teams of young bush regenerators have made significant improvements to urban bushland. These teams include the Aboriginal Riverkeeper Team and three Green Army Teams, who are supported by funding from the Australian Government. The teams helped to regenerate 169,280m2 of bushland and have planted over 42,000 plants for the GRCCC member Councils. This on ground work demonstrates positive results for our bushland and biodiversity in the Georges River catchment and will help ensure flora and fauna across the catchment continues to thrive. 

2013/14 Report Card Released; Another 70+ Tonnes Rubbish Removed !

The Riverkeeper Program has removed in excess of 70 tonnes of rubbish from the river’s foreshores, parklands and tributaries. This year, Riverkeeper teams removed 70,276 kgs of rubbish and logged 17,316 hours at 155 sites across eight local government areas between July 2013 and June 2014. Bush regeneration teams have also worked to improve foreshore bushland.             

RK Report Card 2013-14    
The pdf icon Report Card 2013-14 (4.48MB) (released officially on Monday 8 December 2014) demonstrates catchment-scale cleanup and bush regeneration results of the Riverkeeper Program for the year.

The significant clean up and restoration results for the year are achieved through the GRCCCs partnership with Corrective Services NSW by using work teams comprised of individuals on Intensive Correction Orders who are required to carry out community service. The Riverkeeper Program also works regularly with teams from organisations such as Scouts NSW, State Emergency Services, school groups and other community volunteer groups to perform bush regeneration and rubbish collection.

Riverkeeper and Aboriginal Land Councils Team Up for Catchment-Wide Biodiversity Grant

Woronora RiverThe Georges River Combined Councils’ Committee (GRCCC) announced it has received funding from the Australian Government to help restore high priority bushland and establish ecological connectivity across 150 hectares of the catchment.  

The ‘Building Indigenous Knowledge and Skills to Restore Urban Waterways’ project will be supported by an Australian Government grant of $1.78 million over three years.

The GRCCC worked closely with elders and representatives from the Local Aboriginal Land Councils within the Georges River Catchment to develop this successful project and the close partnership will continue through the implementation phase.

The project involves restoration work to improve biodiversity at key sites. Some of the restoration works will be performed by an Aboriginal Bush Regeneration Team comprised of a supervisor and trainees, who will work towards the attainment of qualifications in Conservation Land Management.

Work is expected to commence in March 2014. The sites are primarily located in urban areas and represent a full range of high value and critical estuarine and riparian areas across the catchment. Work sites include:

  • Bankstown LGA – Virginius Reserve (Little Salt Pan Creek), Padstow
  • Campbelltown LGA – Mansfield Creek and Spring Creek, St Helens Park
  • Fairfield LGA – Johnston Park and Sherwin Park (Orphan School Creek), Canley Vale
  • Hurstville LGA – Myles Dunphy Reserve, Oatley
  • Kogarah LGA – Oatley Point Reserve, Oatley and Baldface Point Reserve, Blakehurst
  • Liverpool LGA – Riverside Park, Chipping Norton
  • Rockdale LGA – Sandringham Foredune, Sandringham and Sans Souci Foredune, Sans Souci
  • Sutherland LGA – Carina Bay Reserve and Honeysuckle Reserve (Carina Creek), Como and Green Point Reserve, Como

Click here for the latest update on the work of the Aboriginal Riverkeeper Team

For more information contact

Riverkeeper Program Engages Corporate Volunteers

Often the business sector seeks a proactive approach to team-building and corporate outings.  The Riverkeeper Program can accommodate this by coordinating corporate groups to conduct rubbish removal or bush regeneration. 

The Riverkeeper and GRCCC Communications Coordinator will consult with your corporate team to develop a suitable activity, duration and outcome depending on group size and ability. In consultation with Council, activity coordinators will select a worksite with adequate facilities and parking. The result is an all-around win for volunteers and for the river.

Contact for bookings, or more information.

Worksite Highlight - Horning St, Kurnell

February 2016

The rehabilitation work has been monitored over the years and the results are provided in these two reports to Council.

pdf icon Horning Street Saltmarsh Report (3.96MB)

pdf icon Saltmarsh Monitoring Report (3.92MB)

July 2013

The Horning St., Kurnell worksite is approximately 5 ha of degraded saltmarsh. Three Endangered Ecological Communities (EECs) and one Protected Community have been recorded on the site: Saltmarsh, She Oak Swamp Forest, Kurnell Dune Forest (all EECs) and Mangrove Forest (Protected). The site adjoins the Towra Internatioanl Wetlands, an internationally recognised Ramsar wetland of national significance in which over 30 endangered bird species take refuge. The project is possible through funding from the Kurnell 2020 project.

Riverkeeper Teams have contributed the vast majority of rubbish removal onsite, clearing over 15 tonnes of rubbish (including dozens of degraded car bodies and over 100 tyres. Sutherland Shire Council has closed access to the site which has limited the continued degradation and compaction of the saltmarsh from motorbikes and 4WD vehicles. The Hawkesbury Nepean CMA and Council are undertaking the next stage of the project which is a strategic replanting design promoting natural takeover of saltmarsh plant species. UNSW and other agencies have taken a specific interest in the program. The combination of limited motorised access, rubbish removal and replanting created optimal conditions for full rehabilitation.

At Horning St. Kurnell, Riverkeeper teams have removed 12.6 tonne over 10 days of rubbish collection. 121 Volunteers have contributed 605 hours.
For more than 50 years the Horning St worksite has been degraded by land clearing, car dumping, rubbish dumping and inappropriate use of recreational vehicles such as 4WD cars and bikes. Sutherland Council has installed a locked gate to exclude recreational vehicles from the worksite.







Riverkeeper Program - How it works

The Georges Riverkeeper program is focused on undertaking on ground restoration works for member councils along the river which include rubbish and weed removal, bush  regeneration with other conservation works as required by member councils. The Riverkeeper program cluster is made up of the GRCCC technical officers from each member council. 

The achievements of the Riverkeeper Program are reported within the GRCCC Annual Report.  The Riverkeeper also monitors the health of the Georges River and works to halt pollution. Following negotiations with the National Parks and Wildlife Service the Riverkeeper operations have relocated the Riverkeeper premises to the Georges River National Park.National Green Jobs Corps volunteers (October, 2011)


Contact the Riverkeeper at  

 Tony Wales, Riverkeeper