Tuross River Estuary and Coila Lake

Tuross River Estuary

The Tuross River Estuary (the estuary) is situated in Eurobodalla Shire, immediately to the south of Tuross Head. The estuary forms a network of channels and is recognised for its ecological importance. It is situated downstream from a very large, steep and forested catchment. The estuary is mainly open to the ocean, however, reduced rainfall has lead to shoaling of the entrance, and complete closure of the estuary mouth occurred in 2006 for the first time in about 70 years. The entrance has since been artificially opened.

Estuarine vegetation in the Tuross Estuary includes saltmarshes and mangroves in the intertidal zone, and seagrass beds in the shallow subtidal areas. The estuary supports a range of wildlife, especially birds.

The Tuross Estuary is classified as a recreational fishing haven and is protected from commercial fishing with no trawling, mesh nets or haul nets allowed:

Coila Lake

Coila Lake is a large but shallow coastal lagoon situated immediately to the north of the Tuross River Estuary, separated by a ridge of land that is about 0.5 to 1km wide. The catchment of Coila Lake is relatively small, which has resulted in the lake only being open to the ocean intermittently, and usually for short periods.

Coila Lake contains extensive areas of seagrass and the fringing vegetation is mainly casuarinas and saltmarsh. The lake is open to commercial fishing and contains an important habitat for the Greenback prawn, a species that can complete its life cycle in enclosed waters without migrating to the sea.

Tuross and Coila Lakes Coastal Management Program

Adopted on 28 November 2017, the Tuross and Coila Lakes Coastal Management Program identifies new actions and management issues to address over the next 10 years:

Please note: As of 1 December 2021, a reference to an Environment Protection Zone E1, E2, E3 or E4 in a document should be taken to be a reference to a Conservation Zone C1, C2, C3 or C4. For further information, please see Department of Planning, Housing and Infrastructure's 'Standard Instrument (Local Environmental Plans) Amendment (Land Use Zones) Order 2021'.

From 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.

Tuross Water Quality Improvement Plan

Ongoing water quality monitoring by Council has identified that the Tuross Estuary can return lower water quality results relative to other major estuaries in Eurobodalla Shire.

Council, in conjunction with the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water, commissioned a report to investigate available options to improve water quality in the Tuross Estuary. The Tuross Water Quality Improvement Plan was developed to identify sites that have the potential to impact water quality. The plan prioritises these sites and provides details of potential works that could be undertaken by Council, NSW Government agencies and/or landholders to reduce the impacts on water quality in the estuary:

There are a number of appendices to the above plan that you can view at Council's customer service office in Moruya, upon request.

You can also read about the Eurobodalla Estuary Ecosystem Health and Water Quality Monitoring Program for our six main estuaries, together with water quality report cards:

We can help you

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