The Comprehensive Coastal Assessment (CCA): Estuarine Resources of NSW
The Comprehensive Coastal Assessment (CCA) was a whole-of-government initiative that formed part of the NSW Coastal Protection Package. The CCA, managed by the Department of Planning, aims to provide better data sets and planning tools to improve coastal planning and management decisions in NSW. The CCA focused on estuarine waters in the coastal zone from the Queensland border to Port Stephens, and from south of Lake Illawarra to the Victorian border.
The NSW Department of Primary Industries’ contribution to the project was to create digitised mapping layers of estuarine aquatic habitats, particularly seagrass, mangrove and saltmarsh. Conservation of seagrass is important because, even though it forms a relatively small cover of the seabed in estuaries, many fish, including some of commercial and recreational significance, are closely associated with this habitat. Unlike other parts of Australia, virtually all of the seagrass in NSW is found in estuaries. Similarly, mangrove and saltmarsh are recognised for their contribution to estuarine processes but also have a limited distribution. Damage to these types of estuarine plants by humans includes dredging, reclamation for residential land use, rubbish disposal and sporting fields, smothering from sediments and placement of boat moorings. Some loss of saltmarsh also has occurred due to the infiltration by mangroves.
Digitised mapping layers for oyster leases and for waters suitable for future aquaculture development were also provided, as were the locations of all current fishing closures.
The interrogation and interpretation of the mapping layers produced by NSW DPI will assist in establishing the status and vulnerability of the aquatic resources in the estuaries along the NSW coast. This, in turn, will assist in the sustainable management of these resources.