Wash and riverbank erosion management

Riverbank erosion management is an important issue for the health and stability of all river systems. There are a range of reasons for riverbank erosion including flooding, high wash boating activities, water regulation, changes to vegetation, stock access, wind waves, resource extraction, sea level rise (coastal rivers) and natural environmental changes.

Wash and riverbank erosion management


In the 2013 regional boating plans, five major NSW waterways were identified as needing a managed approach to minimising the impacts of high-wash boating activities which was resulting in riverbank erosion.

This coincided with the announcement of the NSW Boating Wash and Riverbank Erosion Management Strategy in October 2014. Since then, Transport for NSW has continued to work closely with Transport for NSW, other key federal, state and local government agencies and the community to develop and implement a state-wide policy for managing boating related erosion issues. 

Transport for NSW and partner agencies are working collaboratively to develop waterway specific erosion management plans in key locations identified as being subject to significant riverbank erosion issues. These locations include the Clarence River, Williams River and more recently the Shoalhaven River.

Erosion management strategies

In general these plans involve the development of local management actions based on scientific research and extensive community consultation and engagement. A few examples of the type of management actions currently being trialled in some of these areas include:

  • Educational strategies which are focussed on assisting the boating community to undertake their activities using best practice techniques to minimise wash and improving the understanding of NSW marine safety rules and regulation in the non-boating community
  • Erosion mitigation works, such as physical bank stabilisation (rock and timber revetment, battering), riparian revegetation and bush regeneration, stock management (cattle grates, fencing and designated watering points)
  • Trial boating restrictions on certain wake enhancing activities
  • Ongoing monitoring and research.
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