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Shoalhaven: A Cared for Coastal Landscape

Our valuable coastline

Our 165 kilometres of coastline, stretching from Shoalhaven Heads to North Durras, is one of our biggest assets. About 46,000 people live along the coast. In holiday times safe beaches and lakes in a peaceful and natural setting attract five times that many visitors - tourism and coastal recreation are big employers.

Coastal hazards threaten our environment

Coastal hazard studies have shown our coast is affected by severe erosion. Erosion will worsen in the future, creating major challenges. Difficult decisions need to be made about how to manage these hazards to best protect the natural landscape, Council's assets (such as parks, facilities and sewer lines) and people's homes, now and in the future.

Council's investment in a sustainable coastline

The Shoalhaven Coastline Zone Management Plan is one way Council is managing the effects of changing hazards on our coast.

For each beach and coastal community, the Plan sets out what needs to be done and why some management approaches are better than others. The report will guide:

  • development and use of land
  • access to beaches, dunes and headlands
  • use of recreational facilities
  • management of vegetation, biodiversity and landscape for beaches, dunes and coastal reserves
  • community involvement.

Shoalhaven Coastal Landscape

The coastal zone landscape of Shoalhaven City Council is a treasured natural, social and economic asset for the community.

The coastal zone includes 165km of open coast beaches, bays and headlands, the Shoalhaven River estuary, 8 coastal lakes and numerous small coastal creeks. These coastal waterways are set within catchments that extend to the coastal escarpment of the Great Dividing Range. Shoalhaven coastal towns are clustered at the mouths of coastal lakes and on adjacent headlands, around the white beaches of Jervis Bay and in towns established around old river crossings. The Shoalhaven population looks towards the waterways.

Integrated and sustainable management of the coastal zone is a high priority for Council.

Council works with a range of partners such as the Southern Rivers Catchment Management Authority, Office of Environment, Heritage and Marine Parks Authority and local community groups to prepare and implement plans to protect the values of the coastal zone landscape.

These plans include:

  • Coastal Zone Management Plan for the Shoalhaven coastline: how Council manages coastal hazards and risks
  • Estuary Management Plans for estuaries and coastal lakes: how Council protects healthy estuaries and lakes
  • Entrance management strategies for coastal lakes: when and why Council will open a lake entrance
  • Flood risk management plans for coastal lakes and rivers: how Council works with communities to avoid or reduce flood risks


For every local area along the Shoalhaven coast, a suite of scientific studies, hazard assessments, management plans and monitoring programs guides progress towards healthy coastal systems that support prosperous, engaged communities. Many studies and plans have been completed and are being implemented now. Others are in preparation. Others are approaching a review which will assess how well they are meeting their objectives.

All of these plans help Council to protect the natural beauty of the Shoalhaven coast, to deliver key services to the community and to manage risks to the well being of the people of the Shoalhaven:

  • Land use planning (through the LEP and DCP)
  • Asset management
  • Water and sewerage reticulation services
  • Biodiversity protection and invasive species control
  • Recreation planning
  • Tourism and economic development


Shoalhaven Coastal Zone Map

Please click on the lake/catchment name to go to the general estuary page. Alternatively click on the coastal hazard location place names to go to the coastal hazards page.

Shoalhaven Costal Zone Map Sholehaven River St Georges Basin Swan Lake Conjola Lake Narrawallee Burrill Lake Tabourie Lake Meroo Lake Willinga Lake Shoalhaven Heads Culburra Beach Penguin Head Warrain Beach Callala Bay Callala Beach Currarong Collingwood Beach Hyams Beach Berrara Manyana Narrawallee Bannister Headland Mollymook Ulladulla Harbour South Pacific Cresent

Shoalhaven Coastal Zone Plans

Please click the image below to view the full chart (PDF, opens in a new window).

Shoalhaven Costal Zone Flow Chart

This chart shows how Council’s coastal zone management is based on an intersecting suite of plans for estuaries and open coast. This suite of plans has been built up over the last decade, as priorities and funding have allowed. The chart shows which plans are currently in place. To track how management action affects the condition of natural coastal zone systems and assets, Council is also working with The Office of Environment and Heritage and Southern Rivers Catchment Authority to monitor and report the condition of the open coast and estuaries.