Nerang River Freshwater Health Assessment Study

Jacobs (formerly SKM) was commissioned by Gold Coast City Council to develop a set of management tools for the mid to upper sections of the Nerang River.  The management tools were developed through the assessment of the physical and ecological river health. This included; a Source model, data sets and plans for river bank stability, mapping of riparian and in-stream areas, as well as an overall catchment action and implementation plan with an ongoing monitoring and evaluation program.

The project employed a pressure-state-response approach. This was being implemented by:

  • Pressure – research and record threatening processes
  • State – measure and assess health indicators – ecology, stream morphology, riparian vegetation and water quality

These were compared against Water EPP WQOs to identify issues.

  • Response – assess current management actions, model in Source and develop future actions and plans


The Source model for the Nerang catchment included; the storages of Hinze and Little Nerang dam, calibration to historical water quality and quantity data and assessment of catchment management options.  The model and tools developed in this project will enable the Council to continue to monitor and evaluate ecosystem and catchment health, and to assess against management actions and proposed targets to create an adaptive management approach in the future.