2 November 2020
Bega Valley Shire Council will hold a Zoom information session on the Wonboyn Lake Entrance Management Strategy on Thursday 5 November from 6pm to 7.30pm, to explain the development of a sustainable policy for the lake and the local oyster industry.
“Council, NSW Fisheries and the Wonboyn oyster industry have agreed that a sustainable entrance management policy is required to support commercial, recreational and ecological activity in and around Wonboyn Lake,” Coastal Management Officer Rachel Duczynski said.
“A management policy will provide the oyster farmers and Wonboyn community with certainty around opening procedures and a benchmark for a future trigger height to plan for.
“It will also increase Council’s responsiveness, improve consistency with management of other ICOLLs in Bega Valley Shire and affords Council certainty about entrance management options.”
The entrance to Wonboyn Lake has historically been open most of the time and much of the foreshore and in-lake infrastructure is designed for relatively low water levels. This regime has supported a commercially viable oyster industry. Over the last 10 years or so, an increasing trend of heavy entrance shoaling and closures have occurred, impacting commercial oyster production.
In NSW, coastal management legislation supports minimal interference with intermittently closing and opening lakes and lagoons (ICOLLs), preferring that natural processes be allowed to operate to the greatest extent possible.
The mechanical opening of lake and river entrances typically takes place to reduce the impacts of flooding on public and private infrastructure, with opening trigger heights for each estuary determined by heights of key local infrastructure.
The effectiveness of entrance opening is greater at higher water levels, as there is increased likelihood of a more prolonged opening and scouring of the entrance area sand shoals, resulting in enhanced tidal exchange and an increased chance that the entrance will remain open for an extended period.
Elevated water levels for extended periods pose a risk to the health of oyster stock, affect oysters farming operations, create on-water navigational hazards and cause damage to oyster lease infrastructure.
“The Zoom session will cover ICOLL facts, the background of Wonboyn Lake, current issues, the proposed policy and some time for questions,” Ms Duczynski said.
To register for the Zoom session, scroll to the bottom of the Have Your Say webpage and register via the form.
A community drop-in session will be held on Saturday 14 November from 8am to 12pm at the Wonboyn Fire Shed. Due to Covid-19 restrictions the number of people within the fire shed at any one time will be limited.