Riverwatch volunteers were excited to get their hands dirty on Friday, October 9 - it's been a while.
Volunteer efforts were suspended earlier this year due to COVID-19, but the passionate group were finally able to have their first planting bee of 2020.
More than a dozen volunteers turned out, and were ably assisted by Fulton Hogan employees, who were keen to support the local community as part of the Nowra bridge project.
Riverwatch committee member Peter Jirgens said the group had almost 300 native plants ready to go into their new homes on Pig Island.
The majority of them - 150 - were mangroves.
Margie Jirgens said mangroves made an enormous difference to marine habitats.
"They stabilise the banks of the river to slow down erosion, provide habitat for native animals, and the ones below the high-tide mark are a nursey for fish," she said.
"They also provide a habitat for mollusks."
Unfortunately, the number of mangroves Riverwatch were able to propagate in their nursery this year was diminished as a result of the fires and floods.
The group collects seeds from mangroves to propagate in a nursery at the Golf Club, however, this year a significant amount of ash was swept downriver, and made the water too alkaline for many of the young plants to survive.
In a normal year, there would be about 600 mangroves ready to plant out, but this year there is just 150.
However, thanks to the decades-long efforts of Riverwatch, 150 new mangroves should be sufficient.
"Because of the amount of planting over the past 30 years there is a lot of natural propagation happening," she said.
"Areas have been completely transformed.
"It's heartening to see and it means we can focus on high wind or wave areas, where it's harder for seeds to propagate naturally."
Riverwatch plans to hold two more working bees before Christmas 2020. The next one will be to collect mango seeds for propagation in the nursery. To get involved, contact firstname.lastname@example.org