Collaboration is quickly becoming an established paradigm in environmental law and governance. This article examines an important aspect of collaborative processes that remains largely overlooked by empirical researchers: the challenges of sustaining collaboration. Drawing on over 80 interviews, the article explores the maintenance and sustainability of collaboration in practice by empirically examining three of the most innovative collaborative governance "experiments" in Australia: Environment Improvement Plans, Neighbourhood Environment Improvement Plans, and Regional Natural Resource Management. While each case throws up some different issues, a comparison between them provides insights into two common and interrelated challenges for the survival of collaboration – namely, maintaining the involvement of volunteers, and gaining adequate support and funding. Important empirically-based lessons and recommendations are made in the final section of the article with implications for both policy makers and theorists who are concerned with ensuring collaborations can "age gracefully" as an effective "niche" in the environmental law and governance landscape.