Riverkeeper Program

The Riverkeeper Program was established as part of the Local Landcare Coordinators Initiative, funded by the NSW Government and supported through the partnership between Local Land Services and Landcare NSW. The program aims to connect organisations, volunteer groups and individuals to develop opportunities for the community to learn more about and care for waterway health and the conservation of the local environment in the Parramatta River catchment.

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Parramatta River and Waterways Network (PRAWN)

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About the Network

The Parramatta River and Waterways Network (PRAWN), is a collective of individuals representing their organisations and community groups who care for the health of the Parramatta River and its surrounding catchment. They may have a litter, bushcare, waterways health, or habitat focus. See below for the range of groups currently participating.


The aim of our network is to empower member groups in enhancing their effectiveness by:

  • Sharing their experiences, skills, and knowledge – fostering a community of practice.
  • Engaging with the PRCG and member councils on matters of importance to Landcare, Bushcare, clean-up groups, outdoor recreation groups (kayaking, cycling, walking) and Rivercare.
  • Providing feedback and direction on the PRCG Landcare Riverkeeper Program (Refer to PRCG Masterplan Step 7 – Involve the community and Step 8 – Bring in Nature) and the Landcare Priority Plan.
  • Offering capacity-building sessions to support practical action on Landcare, Rivercare, and related matters, with the aim of expanding volunteer participation.
  • Collaborating on citizen science projects and establishing connections with the broader Landcare movement through Greater Sydney Landcare.

The network is chaired by Bev Debincat, Executive Director of Habitat Network, a community native plant nursery based in Ryde and meets every three months, with meetings hosted by different member groups each time. The network also receives support from the PRCG Riverkeeper, as part of the commitment to engage and assist the community in achieving a cleaner, healthier river.

Current Member Groups

Join Us

We welcome all interested groups from the Parramatta River catchment. If you would like to join our network, please click on the link below and complete the form.

Sign up to the Parramatta River and Waterways Network here.

If you’re an individual who is interested in caring for our river and creeks, sign up to the Parramatta River Riverkeeper Group and join us for activities and events or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Together, let’s make a positive impact on the health of our waterways.

Riverkeeper Group

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About the Riverkeeper Group

The Riverkeeper Group is a digital platform for individuals, community groups, and organisations who care for the health of the Parramatta River and surrounding catchment.

By sharing information and resources, and creating opportunities to connect with and work together on projects and events, we can achieve better outcomes for the river. If you are part of a group, please consider joining the Parramatta River and Waterways Local Landcare Network.

Three reasons to join the Riverkeeper Group

  • Belong to wider campaign with real impact on litter, citizen science and waterways health
  • Receive support, resources, and information about Riverkeeping events and activities
  • Keep up-to-date with Riverkeeping in other parts of the world.

Sign up to the Parramatta River Riverkeeper Group and join us for activities and events or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Riverkeeper Ambassadors

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Parramatta River Catchment Group is fortunate to have three Riverkeeper Ambassadors.  They are leaders in their communities and bring concerns about the catchment to the attention of decision makers. Ambassadors play a vital role in communicating about riverkeeping to a wide audience.

Charlene Bordley 

Charlene Bordley runs Addventageous, a social enterprise that provides affordable and accessible cycling programs and services for all members of the community. In May 2020 Charlene also became a community captain for Cycling Without Age, a not-for-profit group that provides free rides for residents of aged and disability services. To date, Charlene has helped raise $8,000 towards purchasing an electric assisted tricycle (trishaw) that will allow people with limited mobility to get out on their own to connect with their community and local environment.


Kellie Darley

Kellie is one of the co-founders of ParraParents, an online community directory and service connecting families in the catchment. She can regularly be seen running clean-ups, bushwalking and nature engagement groups to inform and advocate for her community. Kellie has received several awards for her volunteering and community work, including being awarded as 2020 Parramatta Local Woman of the Year. Kellie Darley was elected as Councillor for City of Parramatta in 2021.


Julia Strykowski

Through her volunteer groups, Plastic Pluckers, and Friends of Toongabbie Creek, Julia (Julz) Strykowski (pictured second from left) organises regular litter clean-ups at various locations in the upper Parramatta River catchment, focusing on Toongabbie Creek.

Julz’s goal is to stop plastic pollution before it reaches the harbour and oceans. It is a practical and helpful way to learn about ‘creek care’, the natural environment, plants and animals while collecting litter along river banks, foreshores, estuaries, wetlands, and riparian edges.

Julz was recognised for her efforts when she won the 2020 NSW Government Educator of the Year Award.


Junior Riverkeeper Ambassador

Hannah Chalmers

Hannah was the Junior Riverkeeper Ambassador from 2019 to 2021.

Hannah made an excellent video ‘Down the Drain’, which looks at the impact of litter that ends up in our waterways, and the benefits of naturalising stormwater channels. Please have a look below!





Parramatta River Changemakers Course

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The Changemakers Course will be run in the future in various forms, including a Youth course in 2025.  Blacktown City Council is planning a similar course during 2024.

If you are interested in taking part in a future Changemakers Course, please contact the Riverkeeper at: riverkeeper@ourlivingriver.com.au

2021 Changemakers Course

The PRCG held its first Changemakers Course for the Parramatta River from April to June 2021. Based on a program run by Cooks River Alliance, the free course provided an opportunity for local residents to connect with like-minded people to create projects that contribute to restoring catchment and waterway health. Twenty-two participants, ranging in age from 17 to 80 years, completed the full program.

Catchment Crawl

The course commenced with a full-day catchment ‘crawl’ that included site visits to a diverse range of ecosystems to highlight some of the challenges and solutions for managing waterway health: Blaxland Riverside Park, Duck River, Blacktown Creek, Toongabbie Creek, Lake Parramatta, Baludarri Wetlands, George Kendall Reserve and Putney Park.

Evening Workshops

Over the following two months, participants took part in seven evening workshops that were held at the Shepherds Bay Community Centre in Meadowbank. Changeology facilitator Les Robinson ran initial project engagement and accelerator sessions to help participants establish and progress their pilot projects.

Throughout the course, the group heard presentations on various aspects of waterway management, biodiversity and community engagement. Guest speakers included: Judy Harrington from Birdlife NSW (link between shore birds and ecosystem health), Youth Riverkeeper Ambassador Hannah Chalmers (science communication projects), and Dan Bradley from Sydney Water (Riverwatch Monitoring Program).

Information sessions were also provided by Liz Locksley from Thrive Story on storytelling skills and the PRCG team on aspects of the Masterplan, sustainable water management and effective communications. The Riverkeeper Ambassadors not only took part in the course but also shared their considerable knowledge and expertise in running community-based initiatives.

Pilot Projects

Six projects emerged from the pilot phase, several of which were launched in June at community events across the catchment:

Greener Gatherings – promoting sustainable alternatives to single-use plastics for family riverside gatherings, particularly children’s birthday parties.
Map Hack – using open source mapping to deepen the understanding of the catchment
(in development).
ParrAware – raising awareness of the Our Living River initiative and ways the community can get involved.
Parramatta River Heroes – focusing on the Parramatta River iconic species and their ecosystems.
The Diggers – mapping and promotion of community gardens in the catchment for the interactive map on the Our Living River website.
The Lollipop Ladies – reducing littering of plastic lollipop sticks and advocating for biodegradable alternatives.

These projects demonstrate the success of the Changemakers Course in building the skills and confidence of the participants, and helping to create a pathway for them to take meaningful action.

Many thanks to everyone who helped to make the course such a success, and particularly the City of Ryde for providing the workshop venue.

Watch a video on the Changemakers Course.