Wagonga Inlet Living Shoreline
Project: Restoration of a section of the Wagonga Inlet foreshore between the Narooma Swimming Centre and Ken Rose Park to create a ‘living’ shoreline.
Timeframe: June 2021 to April 2024
- NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Fisheries through the Marine Estate Management Strategy.
- The Nature Conservancy Australia (TNC) and the Australian Government through its Reef Builder initiative.
- Further funding managed by Council is provided by the NSW Environment Trust and the NSW Recreational Fishing and Camping Facilities Program.
Last updated: December 2023
We are working to:
- transform and restore a section of the Wagonga Inlet shoreline between the Narooma Swimming Centre and Ken Rose Park
- restore multiple oyster reefs
- consolidate and improve public access and diversify native saltmarsh along the foreshore
- restore other infrastructure and foreshore areas.
Benefits to the community:
- improve foreshore protection and water quality
- enhance access and recreation opportunities
- revive lost oyster reefs
- enrich estuarine habitats
- improve habitat for fish
- provide the capability of storing carbon.
'Living' shorelines provide a natural approach to coastal protection by using plants and other natural elements to prevent erosion, rather than traditional methods such as rock walls. The proposed outcome is an innovative solution to coastal management to protect this valuable section of the Inlet, long-term.
Major works in this project include:
- replace the existing failing rock wall with banks of low-growing riparian vegetation to create an environmentally-friendly seawall
- restore 1,700 m2 of intertidal Sydney rock oyster reef habitat in the area adjacent to the remediated bank using locally-quarried rock and local sterile oyster shells. Wild Sydney rock oyster spat will settle over time and form a natural oyster reef. This will enhance water quality and improve fish production and overall biodiversity of the Inlet
- restore about 1,000 m2 of subtidal native flat oyster reef habitat on the sea floor of the ‘Deep Hole’
- create a jetty and platform which extends into the 'Deep Hole'
- retain existing water access for kayaks
- consolidate access to the sandflats to support saltmarsh protection by retaining the ramp and the path opposite the caravan park building
- remediate the stormwater drains.
The Wagonga Inlet Living Shoreline is a collaborative project between Eurobodalla Shire Council, NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Fisheries, The Nature Conservancy Australia (TNC) and the Australian Government.
Project works are in their final stages. Watch ABC News' story on our award-winning living shoreline project to see what we've achieved so far.
- Soil Conservation Services completed major earthworks across the site with the re-shaping of banks and low-lying rock revetment.
- Joonga Land and Water Aboriginal Corporation Rangers planted 16 different salt marsh and terrestrial species in the ground - about 13,000 plants in total.
- Local Aboriginal artist Nigel Stewart completed his commissioned artwork for the site. The artwork is being rendered to fit on the signage across the site, and Council will install it before Christmas.
- Nature Coast Marine Group and OzFish volunteer surveys of the intertidal oyster reef are showing incredible recruitment. Millions of oysters have attached themselves to the reef we installed in just one season.
- The subtidal reefs are showing great progress too, with 15 fish species recorded on them – a figure that is equivalent to established subtidal oyster reefs.
- Council will open the new site during the 2023 summer school holidays, but final works won't take place until after the holidays. As part of the final works, multiple contractors will install the boardwalk, jetty and floating pontoon.
- Council, the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) – Fisheries, and The Nature Conservancy sought Expressions of Interest from Aboriginal artists to submit artwork for a public art (sculpture) installation for the Wagonga Inlet Living Shoreline located at Narooma.
- Wagonga Local Aboriginal Lands Council Rangers completed the first 75m of plantings - about 850 terrestrial and saltmarsh plants were planted.
- Soil Conservation Services started on-ground works for the re-shaping of banks and saltmarsh restoration.
- Council, the Department of Primary Industries – Fisheries, and The Nature Conservancy are working with the selected Aboriginal artists to feature their artwork in the signage suite for the project.
- Council, the Department of Primary Industries – Fisheries, and The Nature Conservancy sought Expressions of Interest (EOI) from Aboriginal artists to submit artwork to be featured in the signage suite for the project.
- In a first for NSW, 2 million baby Angasi Oysters were brought to the site and settled onto oyster shell bags before seeding our deep reef. The Nature Conservancy and Joonga divers dropped the bags onto the reefs and spread out the shell across six rocky reefs.
- Construction designs and material supply for the on-ground works, including the boardwalk and jetty, are being finalised.
- Volunteers continue to carry out surveys of the intertidal oyster reef, which show promising results after the summer oyster breeding and recruitment season.
- Volunteers have graded, cleaned, and bagged tonnes of oyster shells to be sent to a hatchery for Angasi settlement. Over 50 bags were filled by two working bees at the Out of the Blue Oyster Shed in Narooma.
- Project partners have been working hard to complete the detailed designs and NSW Government permits before the construction of Stage 2 can commence.
- Over 130 Angasi Oyster shells were creatively painted by kids at the River of Art’s Luminous Festival. These pieces of art will be displayed on the Wagonga Inlet Living Shoreline site once construction has been completed.
- Oyster shells generously stockpiled and donated by Wagonga Inlet farmers will be used as additional substrate to rock on the subtidal reefs. This is intended to encourage any wild Angasi/native flat spat in the system to settle there and expedite reef establishment. However, there are very few Angasi left in Wagonga Inlet so the subtidal reefs will also be ‘hand seeded’ with hatchery-produced spat grown out on sterile oyster shell.
- The purpose of the reef is to enhance the biodiversity and health of the estuary rather than provide for oyster farmers or broader public harvest.
- The contractor engaged by DPI Fisheries has begun work on the oyster reef rock installation.
- About 1,700 m2 of intertidal Sydney Rock Oyster reef habitat will be installed next to a priority section of degraded foreshore using locally quarried rock and local sterile oyster shells. It will be the first intertidal oyster reef on the NSW South Coast and the first subtidal oyster reef for the state.
- A further 1,000m2 of subtidal Native Flat Oyster reef habitat will then be created on the sea floor of the nearby ‘Deep Hole’.
- Pedestrian detours and traffic control will be in place during construction, estimated to be three weeks.
- Council’s NRM team is working in collaboration with DPI Fisheries and The Nature Conservatory on this project.
Check out the flythrough of the proposed completed project on our YouTube channel:
Video credit: Nicole Larkin Design | Short Pants Consulting | REALMstudios | Royal HaskoningDHV
See our plans
You can view our plans of the proposed Wagonga Inlet foreshore and the materials we intend to use for the project:
Please note: This document does not meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. If you have difficulty accessing the information and would like assistance, please phone Council on 02 4474 1000.
Stakeholder and community feedback on the draft designs for WILS was sought during October to December 2021, including:
- a community survey (83 respondents) advertised through social media, website and posters around Narooma businesses
- an onsite community drop-in session
- meetings or conversations with stakeholders including Local Aboriginal Land Council and other Aboriginal community representatives, fishing clubs (Tuross and Narooma), Batemans Marine Park, oyster farmers, Easts Holiday Park
The majority of feedback received was supportive of the project and ideas raised will be considered in the detailed design of the living shoreline component. Community suggestions included solar lighting for night walks, more seating, better access on the water side of the path, better accessibility, management of mangroves for views.
Get project updates
For more information on the Wagonga Inlet Living Shoreline Project, please contact James Caffery, Natural Resource Management Officer:
- T: 02 4474 1037
- E: James Caffery