Shoalhaven Riverwatch and the Sapphire Coast Wilderness Oyster Farmers (SCWO) have combined resources to tackle river bank erosion on Yowaka River at Pambula.
Sixteen members of Shoalhaven Riverwatch travelled to Pambula this week to demonstrate the construction of a sand sausage along eroded sections of the river which had been identified as an erosion hotspot by the local farmers.
Shoalhaven Riverwatch has developed the innovative solution to the problem of riverbank erosion, using a continuous sandbag nicknamed the ‘Shoalhaven Sand Sausage’.
This unique innovation was recognised by a Fish Habitat Innovation Award at last year’s NSW Landcare Conference at Albury.
It’s the first time the group had taken the innovation out of the Shoalhaven to help in other coastal catchments.
“The sand sausage can be applied to any situation where the base of the riverbank is being eroded due from wave action,” said Shoalhaven Riverwatch project officer Peter Jirgens.
“There is no reason why it can’t be used in coastal or inland rivers.
“The continuous sandbag is placed along the base of the riverbank and breaks up the power of wave action, preventing further erosion and providing a stable base to plant trees and shrubs.”
SCWO chairman Brett Weingarth said the group was grateful for the efforts of the Shoalhaven Riverwatch volunteers in helping address the erosion at the problem site.
“Oyster farmers are unable to ‘shut the gate’ on upstream impacts, so it’s great to work with the community on novel ways to improve our water quality,” he said.
“This great partnership project will help us maintain the health of our beautiful Pambula Estuary.
“The oyster famers are like the canaries in the catchment, bearing the brunt of land use practices upstream.”
This project has been funded by SCWO and South East Local Land Services through their ‘Cultivating a Sustainable Future for the Sapphire Coast Oyster Industry’ project.
On the field trip, Shoalhaven Riverwatch constructed 50 metres of double layered sand sausage, planted 400 trees and grasses and installed 14 three metre long coir logs.
The group was also treated to visits to other rehabilitation sites in the area and an oyster tour of Pambula Estuary where they were shown the finer points of oyster farming by Brett Weingarth and sampled the produce.
“Caring for our rivers and estuaries is everyone’s responsibility, not just the landholders or the oyster farmers,” Mr Jirgens said.
“Most of our group are retirees and we get great satisfaction from working in beautiful surroundings,while making a difference to our environment.”