Tamar Estuary River Health Action Plan

Seeking to address the long-term health of the estuary, the Tamar Estuary River Health Action Plan identifies investment priorities and provides advice and management recommendations to the government.

Boat on the Tamar

The upper kanamaluka/Tamar estuary, is part of Zone 1 (Launceston to Legana).


The Tamar Estuary Management Taskforce (TEMT) was established under the Launceston City Deal with the aim of identifying investments to improve the health of the kanamaluka/Tamar estuary. As part of this work, the Taskforce was charged with delivering the Tamar Estuary River Health Action Plan (RHAP) which provided priority recommendations for government investments and potential policy actions.

As a result, a total of $140.7 million is being invested under the Launceston City Deal by the Australian Government, Tasmanian Government, TasWater and City of Launceston to implement the key actions, namely:

  • $129.2 million is allocated to deliver infrastructure upgrades to reduce overflows from Launceston’s combined sewage and stormwater system. To learn more about the infrastructure upgrades and current progress, visit TasWater.
  • $11.5 million is allocated to the Catchment Works Program to reduce pathogens for entering waterways across the kanamaluka/Tamar Estuary and Esk rivers catchments including Launceston’s separated stormwater system.


NRM North has been selected as the preferred provider to deliver the Tamar Estuary River Health Action Plan – Catchment Works Program. The program provides funding through Tamar Action Grants to support grazing and dairy landholders with the installation of stock exclusion fencing along waterways, revegetation and associated weed management, installation of alternative stock water, stock crossings and effluent management upgrades on dairy farms.

Investments for dairy effluent projects includes innovative management approaches, effluent designs, extension of effluent storages and effluent irrigation areas, as well as an effluent extension program to build the capacity and skills within the industry.

The program also provides funding through the Sewage Intrusion Program to investigate and mitigate sewage intrusions into Launceston’s separated stormwater systems to reduce pathogens entering the estuary.

In summary, working with dairy and grazing industries and councils, the program aims to reduce pathogens in the estuary by:

  • excluding stock from waterways;
  • rehabilitating riparian revegetation buffers on dairy and grazing farms;
  • improving effluent management on dairy farms; and
  • removing sewage intrusions from Launceston’s separated stormwater systems.

TEER catchment

The River Health Action Plan will see improvements made throughout the Tamar catchment.

TAG117 Sam Archer - Pro Photo (17) 700x525 web.jpg

The installation of stock-exclusion fencing reduces the input of effluent into the Tamar catchment.


The Catchment Works Program has established a collaborative partnership with local and state governments, DairyTas, and the Tasmanian Farmers & Graziers Association to:

  • facilitate the distribution of Tamar Action Grants to a large percentage of graziers and the majority of dairy farmers in the Tamar estuary and Esk rivers catchment ;
  • mitigate sewage intrusion in the separated stormwater systems of the Launceston area in partnership with the City of Launceston, West Tamar Council and Meander Valley Council;
  • extend effluent storages and irrigation areas in the dairy industry; and
  • build capacity and skills to improve dairy effluent management practices through workshops and field days to showcase best practice.

This program builds on the work previously undertaken by NRM North through the development of a Tamar Estuary Water Quality Improvement Plan (WQIP).

Quick Q&A

What influences the health of the kanamaluka/Tamar estuary?

The health of the kanamaluka/Tamar estuary is influenced by Launceston's combined sewerage and stormwater system, inability to flush sediment due to marine tides meeting freshwater inflows, agricultural practices in the catchment, historical industrial practices, outflows from sewage treatment plants throughout the estuary, floods, and man-made changes to the flow and channel of the estuary.

What about sedimentation & contaminants?

Sediment input from the greater catchment area, into the river systems has contributed to the sedimentation of the kanamaluka/Tamar estuary. Sediment carried with surface runoff into the rivers brings with it nutrients and heavy metals.

A legacy of historic mining in the upper catchment has also impacted on the overall condition of the river systems and contributed to the contaminants in the estuary. Improving the water quality in the Tamar Estuary and Esk River (TEER) catchment will assist in the long-term sustainable management of this resource and the ecosystem health of the estuary.

How can landholders help to improve water quality?

There are many ways landholders can improve water quality in the catchments, especially graziers and dairy farmers. You may already implement some NRM techniques including keeping waterways clean and clear from contamination, using sprays and additives in recommended amounts, fencing off waterways and bushland, planting shelter belts and introducing water and energy saving strategies, including erosion control.

Landholders may be eligible for a Tamar Action Grant and can check their eligibility here.

Explore our resources and read about our Water Program for more information.


This project is supported with funding provided by the Australian and Tasmanian governments through the Launceston City Deal and the Australian Government Tamar Estuary River Health Grant.


This program is supported with funding from the Tasmanian and Australian Governments through the Launceston City Deal 'working together for healthy waterways'.