The Cooks River

The Cooks River is an urban estuary in the heart of Sydney’s Inner West. The River and its foreshores have been a haven for birds, animals and insects as well as mangroves and native plants. Many local groups have been working incredibly hard to beautify the river through bushcare and clean-up activities as well as other ways to help connect local living in the catchment to the Cooks River. The River’s beauty and value as a recreational space has become more evident as we spend more time at home due to COVID-19. 

Sadly though, this vital catchment is thought to be one of the most polluted urban rivers in Australia. Sampling by the Australian Microplastic Assessment Project (AUSMAP) for example, found ‘very high microplastics loads near the mouth of the Cooks River’. As the urban population within the catchment continues to increase, protecting and enhancing the health of the river becomes more important.

Over the past few years, the River Canoe Club has worked with a number of local stakeholders such as the Cooks River Alliance and The Mullets to change this by organising clean up events along the Cooks River. Building on the success of these past events, the River Canoe Club is pleased to announce our most ambitious environmental project for the Cooks River!

Our aim is to develop a comprehensive litter prevention strategy to halve the waste across the Cooks River Catchment area by 2025.

Through litter prevention, we want to create a ‘loved and healthy river valley enriching the heart of Sydney’ as part of the 2030 Cooks River Community Vision.

We want to hear from you if you are interested in helping to create a healthy and vibrant Cooks River.

This short survey is a great way for you to get involved. Your contribution will help us formulate our action plan to help reduce litter in the River by 50% by 2025. 

Cooks River Clean Up 2021

Cooks River Litter Strategy 2021 – Project overview

Aim: To develop a comprehensive and collaborative litter prevention strategy for the Cooks River with actions that will deliver 50% litter reduction over four years. To help achieve this, we aim to work collaboratively with a number of stakeholders such as schools, local businesses, local councils and local organisations. 

Goal: The strategy is an exciting step towards tackling the Cooks River litter problem at its source – before it has a chance to enter the river.

Funding: This project has been funded through a grant provided by the NSW Environmental Protection Agency (NSW EPA) Community Litter Grant. The Strategy will be the first of its kind, addressing the complex problem of litter from a truly whole-of-catchment perspective. 

Next steps: Through this project, the River Canoe Club and the wider network is seeking to address the following gaps when it comes to litter in the Cooks River;

  1. Identify ways to shift focus on effective and coordinated litter prevention actions rather than litter clean up activities;
  2. Identify action plans that will help encourage positive behaviour changes within the catchment community to help reduce the amount of litter in the River by 50%;
  3. Help coordinate positive actions that are already being undertaken by stakeholders within the Cooks River catchment to strongly align policies, practices and messaging 

Get involved

This short survey is a great way for you to get involved. Your contribution will help us formulate our action plan to help reduce litter in the River by 50% by 2025. 

Cooks River Litter Strategy Email list

Feel free to sign up to our email list to stay updated on the progress and opportunities to get involved in the Cooks River Litter Prevention Strategy (we promise we won’t spam you)

Useful information/resources – check them out..

Project Team

Project partners

The project is also delivered in consultation with a number of stakeholders including:

  • The different local governments
  • community groups
    More details coming shortly…