The precious shoreline of Wagonga Bay in Narum will soon be protected by a new “living shoreline,” and today marks the start of the first phase of the landmark Wagonga Bay Living Shoreline Project.

Kylie Russell, acting program manager for the NSW Department of Primary Industries’ Marine Strategy Program, said the project will demonstrate how innovative natural solutions can be used effectively in coastal management.

“Living shorelines protect our shoreline by using natural elements, such as plants and oyster reefs, to prevent erosion instead of traditional methods such as stone walls,” Ms. Russell said.

“In addition to improving coastal protection, ‘living shorelines’ also provide a number of social benefits, such as increased recreational opportunities, integration of cultural values, engagement of coastal communities and increased habitat sustainability.

“In late 2021, communities and stakeholder groups were invited to share their ideas and comments about the project, and feedback received was incorporated into the final design.”

The Wagonga Inlet Living Shoreline project is an exciting new collaboration between DPI, Eurobodall County Council and The Nature Conservancy Australia with funding from the Australian Government’s Reef Building Initiative and NSW Marine Estate Management Strategy.

Heidi Thomson, Natural Resources and Sustainability Coordinator for the Eurobodall County Council, said the first phase of the project will restore the first native flat oyster reef in NSW waters and the first intertidal oyster reef on the NSW south coast with “living shoreline” improvements. works to follow.

“Approximately 1,700 square meters of tidal reef habitat for Sydney rock oysters will be restored using native rock and sterile oyster shells where, over time, wild Sydney rock oyster eggs will settle and form a natural reef,” Ms. Thomson said.

“Another 1,000 square meters of tidal habitat on the Native Flat Oyster reef will be created on the seafloor of the nearby Deep Hole.”

Simon Branigan, operations manager for oceans at The Nature Conservancy, said clam reefs are one of Australia’s most endangered marine ecosystems, but fortunately they can be saved from extinction.

“Restoring the oyster reef in Wagonga Bay will benefit both people and nature by improving water quality, providing habitat for marine life, and providing important natural protection for our coastline to reduce coastal erosion and storm damage,” Mr.