Hunter Local Land Services has been successful in obtaining funding from the Recreational Fishing Trust Habitat Action Grants to upgrade boat moorings to rehabilitate fish habitats in Lake Macquarie.

This project aims to improve the protection and condition of seagrass in Lake Macquarie by increasing seagrass awareness and improving the cooperation between stakeholders. This project has also introduced a rebate program for the upgrade of boat moorings to an environmentally friendly mooring (EFM) design.

Environmentally Friendly Mooring

Seagrass Friendly Mooring

Lake Macquarie has over 2000 boat moorings. Conventional block and chain 'swing' moorings cause scouring of the seabed as boats are moved around the anchor (concrete block) dragging a heavy chain. When moorings are located in seagrass beds this scouring causes a significant loss of valuable fish habitat.

Seagrass is a valuable habitat in the life cycles of many recreationally important fish species and plays an important role in the general health and productivity of estuarine ecosystems. Rehabilitating disturbed areas of seagrass and preventing ongoing disturbance by conventional moorings will increase the area of seagrass available for fish habitat and may help to ensure the overall integrity of the seagrass bed is maintained.

Eco Mooring

Eco Mooring

In NSW there are 2 main species of seagrass – Posidonia australis and Zostera capricorni. Posidonia australis or "strapweed" populations are listed in the Fisheries Management Act 1994 as endangered in six NSW estuaries (Port Hacking, Botany Bay, Sydney Harbour, Pittwater, Brisbane Waters and Lake Macquarie).

In 2015 Posidonia australis was listed as a threatened ecological community under the Australian Governments Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 in NSW estuaries between Nambucca Heads and Wollongong.

The Department of Primary Industries recently completed a report on estimating losses of Posidonia australis due to boat moorings in Lake Macquarie, Port Stephens and Wallis Lake. The report estimated that over seven hectares of Posidonia seagrass had been lost through damage to moorings.

Hunter Local Land Services held a demonstration "pull test" event at Lake Macquarie in 2014, comparing two EFM designs to conventional block and chain moorings. All three types of moorings were tested in mud and in sand and then the tackle of each EFM design was displayed on land.

To simulate storm conditions all moorings were pulled on by a tugboat with the EFMs performing very well and clearly able to withstand greater loads than the conventional block and chain moorings at both sites.

Expressions of interest will close at midnight on Wednesday 31 May 2017. Late applications will be placed on a waiting list and may be offered a rebate if funds become available.

Installations must be completed by 30 June 2017.

Find out about more about the rebates available for Environmentally Friendly Moorings

Project Coordinator:

Brian Hughes
6551 8994 ext 222

This project is supported by Hunter Local Land Services through funding from the Recreational Fishing Trust Habitat Action Grants and the National Landcare Programme.

Further information: