Fingal Head (pictured) on the Tweed coast and Angels Beach at Ballina have received environmental accolades at the State Clean Beach Challenge awards presentation held at Taronga Zoo on Friday.

Angels Beach took out the Environmental Protection Award, and Fingal Head was announced the winner of the Community Partnership and Action Award and also received Highly Commended in the Young Legends Award.

Now in its eighth year, the Keep Australia Beautiful NSW Clean Beach Challenge encourages and recognises coastal communities, local councils, volunteers and surf lifesaving clubs who protect this State’s beautiful coastline.

Dune and habitat conservation, environmental education, anti-litter and visitor friendly initiatives are among some of the activities that are awarded.

“It’s a huge achievement for any beach to be recognised at State level in the Clean Beach Challenge because the competition is getting tougher every year, but the fact that two beaches received awards in the Northern Rivers region indicates that the local community is doing some really fantastic work,” Peter McLean, Chief Executive Officer, Keep Australia Beautiful NSW, said.

The Community Partnerships and Action Award recognises outstanding community organisation and pride, expressed through civic, cultural and environmental activities.]

Clean Beach Challenge Assessor,Rob O’Brien spoke of the fantastic community involvement at Fingal Head.

“The amount of partnerships occurring at Fingal Head is phenomenal and the sense of community spirit and pride in this location is overwhelming,” he said.

“Fingal Head Coastcare works closely with a number of organisations including Green Corps Teams, Work For The Dole Teams, Youth at Risk and youths with disabilities programs and CDEP teams, who each gain experience with plant propagation, bush regeneration and litter control.

“They also gain an appreciation of the natural environment, education on local native and endangered species, and practical skills in fence and track construction and maintenance.”

Angels Beach is no stranger to success either, having won 21 Regional, State and National Awards from Keep Australia Beautiful NSW and government authorities.

In 2006, Angels Beach was the State Winner for the Community Partnership and Action Award, runner-up for the Young Legends Award, and national winner for Planet Ark’s Threatened Ecosystems Network Award.

Mr McLean said “This award recognises outstanding accomplishment in the protection and commitment to the preservation of local fauna and flora.

“At Angels Beach, there are a number of measures taken to protect the local environment, including the Angels Beach Vegetation Management Plan which guides all bush regeneration works, extensive weed control in partnership with Landcare, and the establishment of a working group to combat the Pandanus Plant Hopper pest.

“Planning is also under way for the formalisation of all beach access tracks and consolidation of beach infrastructure.

“The beach viewing platform at the northern end of Angels Beach is also to be replaced with a composite fibre and recycled plastic structure, providing long-term durability.”

North Steyne was announced the Overall State Clean Beach Challenge winner.