7. Involve the community


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.


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



Lead Agency

Parramatta River Catchment Group.

Current measure

Get the Site Right

Love Your Waterways

Riverkeeper Network


  • 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, ‘Get the Site Right’ is a joint taskforce of local councils, catchment groups, NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and Department of Planning and Environment DPE), which targets erosion and sediment control on commercial and residential building sites across NSW.

Love Your Waterways
‘Love Your Waterways’ is a community campaign that encourages people to take up five simple actions to reduce litter, pet waste, gardening materials, chemicals and other pollutants from entering our waterways.

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
The PRCG works 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

March – May 2023

  • Get the Site Right: conducted the May campaign that focused on correct containment and disposal of litter and other waste on building sites.
  • Round 7 Litter Prevention Community Grant – Make a change for greener gatherings: held 6 litter prevention events in public parks to conduct community education regarding the need to reduce litter and choose sustainable alternatives.
  • Participated in City of Parramatta’s Family Fun Day to provide education and activities related to litter prevention and citizen science.
  • Citizen science: held events in partnership with member councils or community groups: including Spotlight of Saltmarsh (6 May).
  • Community events:
    • Stall promoting PRCG mission at Seven Hills community fair in partnership with City of Blacktown (18 March)
    • Sustainable Saturday at Concord organised by Canada Bay (1 April).
December 2022 – February 2023

  • Progressed Round 7 Litter Prevention Community Grant – Make a change for greener gatherings.
  • Community engagement events conducted in partnership with land managers at litter focus parks: Blaxland Riverside Park (SOPA), Reynolds Reserve Toongabbie (Friends of Toongabbie Creek) and Silverwater Park (City of Parramatta). Educational posters, bin stickers and pavement stencils to be installed.
  • PRCG continues to work with SCCG on progressing Regional Litter Prevention Strategy (RLPS) website portal.
  • PRCG participated in the RLPS bus tour on 23 February, visiting various sites across the Greater Sydney Harbour region that illustrate a catchment approach to litter prevention and showcase current initiatives.
September – November 2022

  • Riverfest 2022:
    • Held from 17 September (World Clean Up Day) to 25 September (World Rivers Day). This year’s celebration of the Parramatta River and its tributaries focused on litter clean-ups as well as opportunities to learn more about the catchment’s biodiversity.
    • Clean-up events were held along the river foreshore at Five Dock, Ermington and Toongabbie Creek, supported by our Riverkeeper Ambassadors.
    • Key events included Blacktown Council’s ‘Meet the Creek’ event along Blacktown Creek and online Community Litter Forum.
  • Get the Site Right:
    • October Blitz Week was held from 17-21 October.
    • Lane Cove Council joined the October campaign. Hornsby Shire Council has expressed an interest in participating in 2023.
  • Bayview Park swim site launch:
    • The Bayview Park swim site launch on 20 November was a significant milestone in the mission to make Parramatta River swimmable again.
    • The event was well-attended by the community and past and present PRCG member organisation representatives.
    • PRCG contributed significantly to planning the launch event and hosted an information stall on the day.
June – August 2022

  • Greater Sydney Harbour Regional Litter Prevention Strategy (GSH RLPS)
    • Strategy endorsed by the EPA.
    • Developed in partnership with Sydney Coastal Council Group (SCCG), under the EPA’s Community Litter Grants.
    • Community Litter Forum scheduled for 23 September as part of Riverfest.
    • The SCCG and PRCG are partnering with the following councils and organisations to tackle local litter issues at locations that have been identified as problematic litter hotspots: Cumberland City Council, Inner West Council, Hornsby Shire Council, North Sydney Council, PRCG – ‘Greener Gatherings’ project.
  • PRCG was invited to participate in City of Canada Bay’s Reconciliation Action Plan development, and attended a Walk on Country with Uncle Jimmy Smith at Cabarita Park.
  • Planning for Riverfest 2022 (17-25 September) is underway with 11 events planned, including litter clean-ups and citizen science activities, focusing on water quality and iconic species.
  • Riverkeeper presentations and information stalls:
    • City of Canada Bay Sustainable Schools and Childcare Network – Junior Riverkeepers.
    • Local Government Biodiversity Network – Update on Biodiversity Actions in the Parramatta River Catchment.
    • Burramatta NAIDOC – Parramatta Park (July).
March – May 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.
September 2021 – February 2022

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Round 7 Community Litter Grant Stream 1 – Making a Change for Greener Gatherings in Park: Successfully secured grant funding for $30,000 to run litter prevention behaviour change initiatives in three parks in partnership with SOPA, Greener Gatherings Changemaker group, Plastic Pluckers, Riverkeeper Ambassadors, Bilingual Educators and Parramatta Council.
  • Round 7 Community Litter Grant Stream 3:
    • Coordination grant has also been received by the Sydney Coastal Councils Group
    • This funding has enabled the employment of a part-time Regional Litter Coordinator, Cynthia Chang, to oversee implementation the RLPS in 2022 and work with Councils in the catchment.
  • The Seaside Scavenge was held at Blaxland Riverside Park on Saturday, 19 February. Hosted by Sydney Olympic Park and City of Parramatta, PRCG showcased the litter vacuum for effective usage on fine litter.
  • The Bayview Park Low Tide Clean Up was held on Sunday, 29 February and supported by Council staff and community volunteers. The focus was on clearing the swim site area of bricks and other construction rubble. Two weeks prior, the Maritime Services crew cleared the bay of larger littered items such a shopping trolleys and sulo bins.
June – August 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.
March – May 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.
December 2020 – February 2021

  • A Regional Litter Prevention Officer has been engaged to develop the grant-funded Regional Litter Prevention Strategy for Greater Sydney Harbour.
September – November 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.
June – August 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.
  • 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.
March – May 2020

  • River Aware campaign launched on social media to engage the community during May 2020.
  • Riverkeeper role approved for recruitment.
December 2019 – February 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.
September – November 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.
June – August 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).
March – May 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.