Post-Bushfire Mangrove Recovery | Oceanwatch Australia

OceanWatch has been working with MangroveWatch, local Landcare groups, oyster growers, and community volunteers on the recovery of mangroves damaged by the 2019-2020 bushfire

Mangroves are essential habitats where many aquatic animals live, feed and breed, including most coastal fishery catches, and they are invaluable for preventing coastal erosion. Unfortunately, mangroves were destroyed in several NSW locations by the 2019-2020 bushfires. In partnership with MangroveWatch and Budd Island Landcare Group, OceanWatch has built the capacity of local oyster farmers and volunteers within the community to repair and monitor recovery of damaged mangrove habitats. The project has built local teams of "Mangrove Watchers' to monitor mangrove health, and trialled assisted mangrove restoration techniques, such as planting seedlings and installing informative signage on recovering banks. Our first (2021-22) project focused on burnt mangroves in the Clyde, Moruya and Wonboyn rivers of the South Coast of NSW.
In late 2021 we ran three MangroveWatch training days where we trained local community members in the ‘MangroveWatch methods’ to monitor mangrove health, damage, and recovery. These methods included photo points, transects and shoreline videos.
After assessing that an intervention was necessary to speed up the natural recovery processes of the mangroves at the Clyde and Wonboyn sites, we conducted on-ground restoration action with the help of volunteers. In the Clyde River, the team planted 450 grey mangrove seedlings into the damaged areas in March-April 2022, after growing them in a constructed tidal nursery looked after by local oyster farmers. Unfortunatly, the sucess rate of these planted and dirrect planted seedlings was low 6 months on. Generally those in a lower tidal range died while natural recruitment that year was confined to a narow band very high in the tidal zone.
In Wonboyn we also established a permanent educational sign in Myrtle Cove, if you are ever in the area make sure to check it out!
This Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery project is supported by the Australian Government’s Bushfire Recovery Program for Wildlife and their Habitat.
In 2023 we were supported by the Landcare Riparian Restoration Grants program to build and expand on our previous project. Two years post fire natural recruitment was variable across the three estuaries. We organised further MangroveWatch monitoring which along with academic advice from the University of Wollongong and Charles Sturt University pointed towards some applied interventions.
The report cards can be found below.

Camden Haven River Estuarine Shoreline Habitat Condition Report Card 2023

Clyde River Estuarine Shoreline Habitat Condition Report Card 2023

Wonboyn Lake Estuarine Shoreline Habitat Assessment 2023

The Clyde estuary saw river mangroves (A. corniculatum) planted from seed, which is a first for OceanWatch and potentially the NSW South Coast at this scale! This was done under a range of treatments to maximise survival as the process of replanting mangroves tragically has a very low success rate.
Wonboyn Lake saw temporary predator protection and wave barriers installed forward of past plantings and natural seedling recruitment.
North Haven, was deemed recovering by Charles Sturt University that year so no intervensions were applied. Monitoring for all sites will be ongoing for the next few years.
We look forward to collaborate with volunteers on the ground, please reach out if you would like to be a part of our restoration efforts.
The Landcare Riparian Restoration Grants program was supported by Local Land Services with funding from the NSW Government’s $200 million Regional Recovery Package.
Scroll to Top