Moruya/Deua River Estuary

The Moruya River Estuary (the estuary) is located in Eurobodalla Shire, about 25km south of Batemans Bay.

The waterway is named the Moruya River along its estuarine length between the ocean entrance at Moruya Heads and the tidal limit. Upstream from the tidal limit the river is named the Deua River. The tidal limit is located about 20km upstream from the entrance, where it merges with Wamban Creek.

The Moruya River is permanently open to the ocean and the entrance is stabilised by two training walls that project seaward. A considerable length of the estuary is lined by rock protection for the purpose of stabilising the banks and river channel.

The vegetation of the Moruya River is typical for many south coast estuaries and includes mangroves, saltmarshes and seagrass species, with a number of significant freshwater and estuarine wetlands. Malabar Lagoon is an important tidal and wetland area that is located on the northern side of the Moruya River and contains extensive areas of saltmarsh.

The waterway is popular for swimming, kayaking, boating and fishing, and the entrance bar or the river mouth is a popular surfing spot. Non-water based activities such as sight-seeing and utilising Riverside Park in Moruya town centre, make the waterway a popular destination all year-round.

The inlet supports a recently revitalised oyster industry and a long-term commercial fishing industry.

Riverside Park is a venue for markets that showcase local farm produce and other locally produced goods.

Moruya Estuary management

Councils need to prepare plans that outline to the community how estuaries will be managed. While the titles to estuaries plans and guidelines under which they are prepared have changed many times over the years, the objectives and intent have remained the same.

The primary objectives of estuary management planning are:

  1. protect the natural environment and amenity of estuaries
  2. maintain good water quality for human and ecosystem health
  3. encourage and improve public access to estuaries
  4. facilitate community involvement in estuary management
  5. recognise and protect local Aboriginal cultural heritage values.

The Moruya/Deua River Estuary Management Study and Plan (2009) is the current estuary management plan, however, Council is currently preparing a new management plan for Moruya Estuary with an expanded study area that includes Mumaga Lake and Wagonga Inlet. The expanded plan aligns with legislative changes that aim to integrate coastal management across areas into comprehensive management programs.

The new plan will have all estuaries in Eurobodalla Shire fall under a comprehensive estuarine coastal management program. A page has been established for this project if you want to learn more:

Moruya/Deua River Estuary Management Study and Plan (2009)

The Moruya/Deua River Estuary Management Plan describes how the estuary will be managed, gives recommended solutions to management problems, and details a schedule of activities to carry out the recommendations.

The plan is the culmination of a range of investigations, studies and community consultation carried out over a period of eight years from 2001 to 2009.

Existing study and plan

Further reading

Estuary Processes Study

The Estuary Processes Study outlines all the hydraulic, sedimentation, water quality and ecological processes within the estuary, and the impacts of human activities on these processes:

Flora and fauna of the estuary

As of 1 March 2022, the 45 existing State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs) have been consolidated into 11 policies.

Any references on this page to any of the amended SEPPs outlined on the Department of Planning, Housing and Infrastructure's website should be replaced with the new applicable consolidated policy.

We can help you

For more information, contact Council's Coastal Management Planner, Cameron Whiting: