7. Involve the community

Overview

Litter and other pollutants are often carried into our river in stormwater runoff. Good management of building sites, picking up pet waste and not littering are just three ways communities can help stop contamination and create a swimmable river. Helping people understand this link is key to the success of this campaign.

Recommendation

Undertake joint community education and compliance activities focused on reducing stormwater and source pollution where it is linked to community behaviour and actions.

Timeframe

Ongoing.

Lead Agency

Parramatta River Catchment Group.

Current measure

Get the Site Right

Love Your Waterways

Riverkeeper Network

Riverfest

  • Number and type of organisations that take part in Riverfest.
  • Number of people that attend events.
  • Level of media engagement.
  • Number of supporters and volunteers generated.
  • Read more about Riverfest.
Community Events

 

Status Update

Get the Site Right
Established by the PRCG is 2016, the Get the Site Right initiative continues to expand regionally across NSW with 25 councils participating in the May 2022 campaign. The importance of preventing sediment-laden runoff from entering our waterways has been highlighted during the severe wet weather events experienced in 2022. The focus for the October campaign is to engage with building associations on best-practice erosion and sediment controls to prevent further runoff from impacting our stressed waterways and environment.

Love Your Waterways
In 2022, the Love Your Waterways campaign will be run as part of the Community Litter Grant project, focusing on the action ‘Reduce Your Rubbish’ to help raise awareness about litter prevention and replacing single-use items with sustainable alternatives for outdoor gatherings.

Riverkeeper Program
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.

Community Events
With the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in 2022, the PRCG is working with Member Councils, Riverkeeper Ambassadors, Changemakers and community groups on ways to engage the community to support events and activities that contribute to improving waterway and environmental health.

Progress Timeline

April – June 2022

  • Get the Site Right:
    • 7 new councils and WaterNSW joined the Get the Site Right campaign: Blue Mountains, Fairfield, Goulburn, Lithgow, Shellharbour and Wollongong.
    • PRCG updated and expanded GTSR educational material to highlight best-practice erosion and sediment controls.
    • PRCG ran an introductory webinar on Get the Site Right for new regulatory staff in April.
    • PRCG arranged a half-day erosion and sediment control online workshop, delivered by SEEC (Strategic Environmental and Engineering Consulting) in May.
November 2021 – March 2022

  • Get the Site Right:
    • 17 councils participated in a trial ‘Blitz Week’ from 15-19 November.
    • 63% of sites were compliant, down 4% from the May campaign.
    • $119,600 in fines was issued to non-compliant sites.
    • PRCG Regulatory Subcommittee meeting held in February.
July – September 2021

  • Riverfest 2021 was held as an online event from 15-24 October, offering more than 20 diverse webinars, talks and children’s story time sessions on local wildlife and aspects of waterway and catchment health.
  • Get the Site Right October campaign delayed to November 2021, due to COVID lockdown. A trial ‘Blitz Week’ will be held from 15-19 November.
  • The Parramatta River Changemakers Course project groups presented their pilot projects at the Full Group meeting in October 2021.
  • Love Your Waterways online, stormwater education campaign was held in July, supported by an Instagram photo competition that encouraged the community to demonstrate one of the five, litter prevention behaviours.
  • Regional Litter Prevention Strategy: community litter survey was conducted and a draft of the strategy is currently in progress.
April – June 2021

  • The May 2021 Get the Site Right campaign took place with the Blitz Day held on Thursday, 20 May. The focus for this campaign was on the impact of sediment runoff on waterway health and marine life.
  • The Love Your Waterways (formerly River Aware) campaign has been expanded to include the other catchment groups in Sydney and their waterways. The campaign will be rolled out in July 2021 and feature an Instagram photo competition.
  • Our volunteer Riverkeeper Ambassadors continue to run activities to protect the catchment, including litter prevention and litter picking, biodiversity monitoring, school walks and talks and cycling tours.
  • The Parramatta River Changemakers Course was held from April-June and involved 22 volunteers. Participants learned about the catchment and how to organise small group projects to help increase awareness of and support for issues impacting waterway health.
  • The Riverkeeper Ambassadors also took part in the Changemakers Course, sharing their knowledge and experience, and mentoring and supporting the other participants with their projects.
  • As part of the Regional Litter Prevention Strategy, Inner West Council, City of Parramatta and Willoughby City Council are currently involved in a pilot study to test actions that will eventually be rolled out to other member councils of the SCCG and PRCG across the Greater Sydney Harbour region.
January – March 2021

  • A Regional Litter Prevention Officer has been engaged to develop the grant-funded Regional Litter Prevention Strategy for Greater Sydney Harbour.
October – December 2020

  • Riverfest 2020 was held from 6-31 October and offered 30 online and in-person events.
  • Due to the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions, the Get the Site Right ‘Blitz Day’ was held as an in-person event on 21 October with more than 20 councils across Sydney and the Hunter Coast and the EPA taking part.
  • PRCG and SCCG were awarded a NSW EPA Community Litter Grant for $90,000 to fund the development of a Regional Litter Prevention Strategy (RLPS) for the Greater Sydney Harbour catchment.
  • PRCG partipicated in Australian Microplastics Assessment Project (AUSMAP) training and funded places for Riverkeeper ambassadors and council officers to attend. The event was hosted by Concord and Ryde Sailing Club.
July – September 2020

  • A Riverkeeper was recruited and we welcome Jasmine Payget who commenced on 27 July.
  • October Get the Site Right blitz day will proceed similar to the June 2020 online format due to COVID-19.
  • Planning is underway for this year’s Riverfest to be held online in October.
  • A video was produced on our Riverkeeper Ambassador, Kellie Darley from ParraParents.
  • The PRCG team will be supporting Kellie Darley at her monthly clean-ups at George Kendall Reserve and also engaging with local community members on the plan to make the Parramatta River swimmable again.
April – June 2020

  • Get the Site Right campaign was postponed to June 2020 as a primarily online campaign due to COVID-19. Fourteen councils and the EPA still conducted site inspections.
  • River Aware campaign launched on social media to engage the community during May 2020.
  • Riverkeeper role approved for recruitment.
January – March 2020

  • Meeting with other catchment groups on 17 February to plan 2020 campaigns. Focus of the May 2020 campaign will be to target private certifiers.
  • Meeting with the Regulatory Subcommittee on 17 March to plan the May 2020 campaign.
  • River Aware campaign collateral finalised to be distributed to members.
  • Completion of the online River Aware pledge.
October – December 2019

  • A draft stakeholder engagement strategy under development targeting the six key areas identified in the Masterplan.
  • Get the Site Right and Riverfest campaigns held.
  • Updated River Aware campaign to be disseminated to all members in early 2020.
  • Coordination of the Riverkeeper Network.
  • Attendance at community events continues.
July – September 2019

  • Get the Site Right campaign planning for October Blitz Day.
  • River Aware neighbourhood campaign launched in July 2019.
  • Presentation to community groups including Baulkham Hills Probus Club and Catholic Earthcare.
  • Presentation at Stormwater NSW Conference on stormwater engagement campaigns.
  • PRCG presence at Cherry Blossom Festival (Cumberland Council), Footprints Ecofestival (Inner West), McIlwaine Park Consultation (City of Canada Bay) and Moocooboola Festival (Hunters Hill).
April – June 2019

  • Get the Site Right campaign conducted, including a one-day blitz on 14 May.
  • PRCG presence at the North Parramatta Heritage Festival and EDGE Greenway events.