Newry Island Riverbank Restoration a Success

Section of stabilised work showing the start of mangrove growth
Section of stabilised work showing the start of mangrove growth

Mangrove populations are beginning to thrive along the riverbanks of Newry Island following stabilisation and restoration work undertaken as part of a three year project between Bellingen Council, landowners and the NSW State Government.

Newry Island was originally identified as a priority site for management in the 2010 Bellinger and Kalang River Estuaries Erosion Study due to severe degradation by river bank erosion, lack of riparian (river bank) vegetation, and unmanaged stock access.  Council was successful in receiving funding from the NSW Environment Trust, Department of Primary Industries Fish Habitat Action Grants and Roads and Maritime Services.

The project used a range of best practice techniques including revetment, rock and timber fillets, cattle fencing, weed control and bush regeneration.  Tree stumps and root balls, utilised from the Pacific Highway upgrade clearing to provide pins for the erosion control structures and create additional habitat areas for fish.

Visible improvements have already been noted with rock and timber fillets creating protected water pockets along the banks. These areas are now perfect for mangrove propagation.  These structures have allowed mangrove propagules which are the long, cigar shaped seedlings to collect behind them giving the fledgling plants a chance to put down roots and take hold. As these mangroves continue to grow they will create a natural buffer to help protect the bank from further erosion, and provide habitat and refuge for a range of native fish.  Native trees that have been planted along the river bank are also thriving, and cattle are fenced back from the edge allowing natural regeneration to occur.

Bellingen Shire Mayor, Cr. Dominic King said “The project’s success is due to the hard work of many stakeholders and financial assistance through grant funding and provides a strong insight into what can be achieved in contemporary foreshore rehabilitation.” 

“Working with our community to address problems such as weed invasion, lack of native tree cover, erosion and sedimentation ensures healthy rivers for the future.”

For further information contact Michelle McFadyen Deputy General Manager Corporate & Community on 6655 7300.