Council releases waterways report

Avoca Lagoon was the only waterway in the region to receive a very poor rating

Avoca Lagoon was the only estuarine waterway in the region to be rated very poor in the Central Coast 2019-20 Waterways report card, released this week.

The report examines the ecological health of Southern Lake Macquarie, Tuggerah Lakes, Brisbane Water, the lower Hawkesbury River and the larger coastal lagoons over the 2019-20 year, providing a clear picture of the health of the region’s estuarine waterways.

It uses seagrass depth range, turbidity and chlorophyll-a as indicators of health and follows NSW Government guidelines.

Of the Coast’s three other lagoons, Terrigal and Wamberal were rated fair, while Cockrone Lagoon received an excellent rating.

Council’s Team Leader Estuary Management, Vanessa McCann, said the lagoons’ varied results reflected the urbanised nature of the catchments and the pressures they face.

“Avoca Lagoon has retained a very poor rating and we are working in partnership with the NSW Government to explore exactly what is going on and what we can do to improve those results over time,” she said.

Of 36 sites monitored in 2019-20, 23 (64 per cent) were graded good or excellent, 12 (33 per cent) were graded fair and only 1 (3 per cent) was graded very poor.

Fair ratings were awarded to Narara Creek, Erina Creek, Kincumber Broadwater and Mooney Mooney Creek, while three different zones in Brisbane Water and Mangrove Creek were rated good and Cockle Bay received an excellent rating.

The Peninsula was the big winner, with excellent ratings awarded to Woy Woy Bay, Booker Bay and Patonga Creek.

To the north of the region, water quality in Lake Munmorah was rated good across the system, as were the majority of sites in Tuggerah Lake.

Budgewoi Lake and some fringing sites around Tuggerah Lake including Canton Beach, Ourimbah Creek and Tumbi Creek were rated as fair.

McCann said reduced water quality coming from the Narara, Erina and Kincumber Creek catchments had highlighted some concerns, particularly following heavy rainfall.

“It was great however to see a resurgence in seagrass at the Erina Creek site which is a positive sign for ecological health,” she said.

Council Environment and Planning Director, Scott Cox, said that whilst the report shows overall positive results it also provides a valuable tool to help Council identify areas for further investigation.

“Council uses a recognised monitoring program to assess the ecological health of our waterways, allowing us to monitor their condition, track changes over time and target investment and on ground works to improve ecosystem health,” Cox said.

“These results will allow Council to review our management actions and plan for on ground works to help improve waterway health over time.

“While some of our waterways at times, look and smell in ways we don’t expect them to this is not always an indicator of poor health.

Council Administrator, Dick Persson, said the release of the report card coincided with the first round of engagement for Council’s Coastal Management Programs.

“We value how much our community care for their local waterways, and we want as many people as possible to take part in the engagement activities for the suite of Coastal Management Programs we have to develop for our region,” Persson said.

The 2019-20 Waterways report card also outlines the actions Council has taken to target improvements in waterway health.

To view the report card, visit

To have your say and sign up to be involved in the Our Coast, Our Waterways program visit

Media release, Apr 13
Central Coast Council