Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why is a management plan for Tuggerah Lakes estuary needed?
The Estuary Management Plan (EMP) was developed over nine years in response to the community’s concerns about the state of the estuary’s health. Approximately half of the wetlands have been destroyed, 85% of the saltmarsh is gone and urban development sends surges of polluted stormwater into the lakes. All these factors contribute to a number of significant threats to the estuary’s health which can’t be ignored. The EMP is the rescue package and will provide strategic direction for the management of the estuary and its catchment.
2. How much will it cost?
The Australian Government Caring for our Country program contributed $20 million over five years to help us implement the Estuary Management Plan (EMP). Wyong Shire ratepayers and visitors are helping to contribute an extra $2.5 million per year through the annual Stormwater Levy ($1.5M) and income from tourist parks ($1M).
3. Why isn’t a seawall/breakwall constructed at The Entrance?
Independent coastal engineers have said that a breakwall would reduce the water level and expose mud flats causing a worse odour problem and severe impacts on vegetation. A permanent opening may also increase the amount of ocean water spilling into Tuggerah Lakes and increase the risk of suburban flooding. A seawall would only improve salt water flushing by less than 1% which doesn’t justify the high cost of construction and maintenance. Both options would gradually change the lakes from an estuarine to a marine environment which has significant impacts for fish habitats, mangroves, prawning and bird life. In fact, the change in water would alter the species of local fish, increase the risk of algae, destroy prawning, increase sand loss from North Entrance beach, expose more smelly mud flats, reduce bird nesting habitat, increase risk of flooding at Berkeley Vale and cause mangroves to grow around the lakes.
4. Why doesn’t Council create a second opening to the lakes?
Scientific modelling indicates that a second entrance would not increase flushing enough to improve the water quality. Rather, it could expose mud flats and destroy fish species and their habitat. Some people have claimed that a second entrance once existed in the north east of Budgewoi Lake although we haven’t found any scientific evident to support this.
5. How can I find out more information?
There’s a few ways you can find out more. Read our Frequently Asked Questions, download a copy of the Tuggerah Lakes Estuary Management Plan summary or phone Wyong Shire Council’s Estuary Management Unit on (02) 4350 5555.