Home / Projects / Mangrove and Saltmarsh Restoration

Making mangrove and saltmarsh habitat healthy again is an OzFish hallmark. We rebuild these habitats and improve our fishing opportunities, for this generation and those to come.

Sometimes, this includes simple fixes, like working with farmers to keep livestock out of saltmarsh. Sometimes, repairs are more profound, requiring long-term assessment and planning. But it is all possible.

Mangrove and Saltmarsh Restoration Projects

Clarence River Estuary, NSW 2024

Clarence River Estuary, NSW 2024

OzFish Unlimited are working closely with Yaegl Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation (TOAC) to help restore saltmarsh and mangroves in the Clarence River Estuary, which are culturally and ecologically important native title sites on Yaegl Country.

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Saltwater Creek, Gold Coast

Saltwater Creek, Gold Coast

OzFish is working with the local Gold Coast community to improve the water quality, fish habitat, overall health and amenity of Saltwater Creek Coomera, as part of the Australian Government’s Urban Rivers and Catchments Program, which aims to improve the health of urban waterways for native ...

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Mangrove Mates, Hastings Foreshore VIC

Mangrove Mates, Hastings Foreshore VIC

OzFish joined forces with students from grades 4 and 5 at St Mary's and St Joseph's Primary School to immerse themselves in a habitat restoration project aimed to revitalise the mangrove forests nestled within Hastings Foreshore, Westernport Bay in Victoria. 

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Lake Illawarra , NSW 2024

Lake Illawarra , NSW 2024

Funded by the Endeavour Energy Community Grants Program, this Collaboration between Shellharbour City Council, Illawarra Landcare, Tullimbah Landcare, and OzFish aims to restore a degraded section of saltmarsh along the foreshore at Karoo Bay.

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Brisbane Waters, NSW 2024

Brisbane Waters, NSW 2024

OzFish Unlimited, local organisations, rec fishers and community members are working together to improve fish habitat at Brisbane Waters, located in the Central Coast region of New South Wales.

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Styles Point, NSW 2023

Styles Point, NSW 2023

Lake Macquarie's delicate saltmarsh communities have faced threats due to coastal development and land reclamation. This development has resulted in significant losses, impacting the fishery. In response, OzFish Unlimited’s Lake Macquarie Chapter set up the Styles Point Saltmarsh Restoration ...

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Maroochy River and Caboolture River, QLD 2023

Maroochy River and Caboolture River, QLD 2023

Through the Caboolture and Maroochy community’s combined actions, native fish habitat continues to be protected and restored within Queensland. Restoration included improvements of in-stream habitat, saltmarsh monitoring a unique shellfish reef trial and and riparian and wetland ...

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Turning the Tide on Westernport Mangroves, VIC

Turning the Tide on Westernport Mangroves, VIC

OzFish is working with Bass Coast Landcare Network, with funding from CoastCare Victoria, to restore the mangrove forests in Western Port Bay, Victoria. The project project aims to plant up to 2,000 individual mangroves to bridge the fragmented stands of mangroves currently at the site. The ...

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Salt Bay and Black Neds Bay, Lake Macquarie, NSW

Salt Bay and Black Neds Bay, Lake Macquarie, NSW

The OzFish Hunter Chapter are working in collaboration with Lake Macquarie Landcare Volunteer Network, Bahtabah Local Aboriginal Land Council and Lake Macquarie City Council to rehabilitate Salt Bay and Black Neds Bay. The project will plant 1,200 native species with the hope to improve the ...

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Tuckean Swamp, NSW

Tuckean Swamp, NSW

Once dubbed ‘Kakadu of the South’ for its abundant wildlife, the Tuckean was an engine room for fisheries productivity throughout Northern NSW. Unfortunately, we now know that the modifications to the hydrology of the swamp, largely through floodplain drainage infrastructure, has resulted in ...

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Saltmarsh Restoration Pitt Water – Orielton Lagoon, TAS

Saltmarsh Restoration Pitt Water – Orielton Lagoon, TAS

OzFishers are working with NRM South, the University of Tasmania, and a local landholder to help restore this incredibly important Ramsar wetland and improve fish habitat. Pitt Water - Orielton Lagoon is a Ramsar listed wetland which supports a whole range of birds, fish, and other aquatic ...

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Burrill Lake, NSW

Burrill Lake, NSW

This citizen science project aims to better understand the flow-on benefits of habitat restoration for fish and recreational fishers at Burrill Lake.

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Mangroves and saltmarshes provide a nursery for juvenile fish, before they move onto deeper waters, they buffer coastal communities against extreme weather events, stabilise coastlines and slow or reduce soil erosion. Despite all this, half of the world’s mangroves and even more saltmarshes have already been cleared or destroyed – and those that remain are under threat.

Mangrove and saltmarsh habitat restoration initiatives

Mangrove forests and saltmarshes may be funky to our human senses, but they are key habitats for our fishy friends, and can survive salty conditions that other vegetation cannot tolerate.

  • Habitat assessments of these environments
  • Monitoring water quality and changes to water management
  • Facilitating mangrove seed collection and planting
  • Planting of native trees and bushes
  • Restoring natural tidal flows to the area
  • Fencing to keep out livestock
  • Weeding and revegetation
  • Creating vegetative buffers
  • Removal of rubbish
  • Reduce or formalise access points
  • Signage and community engagement to support information on how to help protect the fragile habitats
  • Maintaining connectivity and movement between water systems
  • Monitoring feral pests

What’s so important about mangroves to fish?

Mangroves are a species of trees and shrubs that grow in salty environments along the shoreline of coastal rivers, bays, and estuaries, well known for their pungent smell. They are specifically designed and have an adapted circulatory system which helps them survive in harsh conditions. Mangroves are easily identified by their peg root structure which helps them to breathe.

What they do:

  • Help break down storm waves for coastlines
  • Filter out the nasties in water that runs-off urban environments
  • Serves as shelter for young fish, crabs, prawns and other invertebrate
  • A source of food for fish and birds
  • Captures and stores large amounts of carbon

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Fish need saltmarshes more than you realise. 

Saltmarshes are a coastal wetland made from mud and peat, which is a spongy layer of soil consisting of decomposing plant matter. This soft substrate, occurring along protected shorelines, is flooded and drained by salt water from the tides. Saltmarsh habitat contains a specialised community of plants which includes sedges, rushes, reeds, grasses, succulent herbs and low shrubs.

What they do:

  • Provide shelter and food for fish, especially smaller ones
  • Filters rubbish and nutrients that enter estuaries, maintaining water quality
  • Protects the shoreline from erosion
  • Slows and absorbs rainfall which reduces flooding
  • Captures and stores large amounts of carbon

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Mangroves and saltmarshes are ecologically important, providing a link between the land and water.

Sadly, they have been negatively impacted by development, land clearing, weed invasion, rubbish and pollution, uncontrolled access, and changes to water flows. This reduces the health of these environments which is bad news for our fish. As the population increases in coastal areas, the risk to these precious habitats escalates. They are also affected by environmental influences such as climate change and the rise of sea levels, which changes the structure of ecological communities.

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At OzFish we are incredibly proud of the mangrove restoration efforts undertaken by so many of our OzFish volunteers, our fish need more help to recover now more than ever. And you can help.

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