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Environment

Discover how we are protecting the Gold Coast's natural environment - our spectacular beaches, hinterland ranges, bushland and waterways - and how you can help.

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Protecting catchments

Gold Coast hinterland creek

Our Gold Coast catchments feed into a variety of water environments that not only support diverse ecosystems, but also the livelihoods and lifestyles of Gold Coast residents and visitors. It is important that we value, protect and restore these catchments and waterways to ensure they continue to provide a healthy and sustainable future for our ecosystems, the community and the economy.

A catchment is an area with a natural boundary (for example ridges, hills or mountains) where all surface water drains to a common channel to form rivers or creeks. Larger catchments are made up of smaller catchments, which form tributaries to the main watercourse within the catchment.

The Gold Coast consists of large and small catchments hosting a range of water environments, including groundwater reserves, creeks and rivers, lakes and wetlands, all of which eventually flow into the ocean. The Gold Coast hinterland forms a natural boundary for most of these catchments, which provide diverse aquatic and terrestrial habitats, and feature fresh water springs, pristine fast flowing streams and waterfalls.

These streams and waterfalls ultimately develop into the creeks and rivers that flow towards the coastline through a range of semi-rural areas and mixed urbanised settings until they reach our coastal water environments. These include the Broadwater and other estuaries, with their stands of mangrove and salt marsh, as well as the city’s vast network of constructed lakes, wetlands and canals.

Aerial view of Tallebudgera Creek estuary

Explore our detailed information on the Gold Coast’s primary river catchments, and what the City is doing to protect them, in Key Information below.

Find out how you can play an active part in improving the health of our catchments and aquatic ecosystems by visiting our volunteer groups page.

You can also read about the research and development work being undertaken by our Catchment Management Unit, and about the City's efforts to monitor and improve the health and quality of our water environments.

We also provide a range of waterways education and resources to schools and the community to raise awareness of our aquatic environments, and how we can protect them.

The Gold Coast’s catchments contain many impressive landscape features and provide significant environmental, lifestyle and economic benefits to our growing city. Our city is renowned for its waterways and waterfront residential areas, including the largest constructed canal network (over 400km) in the Southern Hemisphere. All local catchments face pressures from different land uses, ranging from increased urbanisation and associated stormwater pollution to agricultural uses, population growth and the inherent increased use of our water resources.

We all live in a catchment, so can all play a part in protecting our water environments. What we do in our homes, backyards and rural properties makes a difference to the health of our catchments and their waterways, which ultimately flow into the ocean. Water really is everyone’s business.

You can contact the Catchment Management Unit for further information and advice on 07 5581 7005.

The primary river catchments located within the Gold Coast include the following:

Related information

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