Wagonga Inlet

Wagonga Inlet Estuary (the estuary) is located north and west of Narooma in the Eurobodalla Shire. The estuary:

  • is classified as a drowned river valley estuary and extends about 9km upstream of the ocean
  • has a relatively small, steep catchment with low freshwater inflows, and as the water of the inlet is not much different to sea water, a wide range and abundance of marine life is found.
  • is home to extensive seagrass beds and fish nursery areas, and is one of only two estuaries on the south coast of NSW that contains large beds of Posidonia australis (strapweed), a seagrass that is very sensitive to habitat changes.
  • is permanently open to the ocean, with twin breakwaters extending seaward and training walls lining the entrance below the Princes Highway bridge.
  • is popular for swimming, kayaking, boating and fishing, and non-water based activities such as sightseeing and taking advantage of riverside parks and boardwalks.

The inlet supports an established thriving oyster industry, several tour operators, tourist accommodation and waterfront restaurants.

The entrance bar is an issue of concern when recreational fishers attempt to cross during conditions beyond their skills and experience.

Estuary management plans

In NSW, councils must prepare plans that outline to the community how estuaries will be managed. The names of these plans and the guidelines under which they are prepared have changed over the years, but the objectives and intent remain the same.

The primary objectives of estuary management planning are to:

  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.

Two plans for Wagonga Inlet have been prepared in the past 18 years:

These plans formulate actions that would assist in maintaining identified values of the inlet; environmental, cultural, scenic, water quality, and recreation.

Significant progress has been made on these priority actions with most of the recommended major components being completed:

  • trial bar watch system
  • water quality monitoring program
  • seagrass monitoring
  • Forsters Bay mangrove boardwalk, jetties and interpretive signs
  • bush regeneration on public lands at Ringlands
  • educational signage around the foreshore.

New plan for managing Wagonga Inlet

It has been almost ten years since the most recent plan for Wagonga Inlet was adopted. It is timely to prepare a new plan to capture any change in the estuary and to ensure community aspirations continue to be met.

A new plan is currently being prepared for Wagonga Inlet with an expanded study area that includes Mumaga Lake and Moruya River. The expanded plan aligns with legislative changes that aim to integrate coastal management across areas into comprehensive management programs. One day, all estuaries in Eurobodalla Shire will fall under a comprehensive estuarine Coastal Management Program.

Further reading

Please note: 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: