Long Point (Tas) Wetland Restoration Works – Six months on!

Justine and I recently undertook a trip to Long Point, adjacent to Moulting Lagoon on the east coast of Tasmania. The aim of this trip was to download data from a network of water level and salinity loggers now installed across the site. It was a good opportunity to check in on the recently restored areas of wetland and saltmarsh, and see how everything is starting to consolidate and adjust to the restored water regime. Before we dive in, if you would like to catch up on past articles about this project, you can find them here.

Yards Hole, The Grange

The northern (outlet) end of Yards Hole, where a series of small aquaculture ponds and channels previously existed, has consolidated nicely after several tidal flow and rainfall events.

This first image shows the condition of the artificial outlet before works occurred in March 2022, and the subsequent condition of this area in August 2022, now that the artificial channel and ponds have been backfilled.

Oblique view of the artificial channel between Yards Hole and Little Bay, before (top, March 2022) and several months after (bottom, August 2022) remediation works. Photos: Mark Bachmann

The aerial view of the same area, below, shows the slow change in condition of the Yards Hole outlet area, as inundation events help to settle the remediation works zone. If you look closely, you will also see the increase in the water level in the natural Yards Hole outlet channel in response to more recent rainfall, which has activated this natural flow-path with gentle, diffuse outflows through the saltmarsh along its original alignment.

Newly remediated area of northern Yards Hole and Little Bay channel,
Post-works image from March 2022 (above) and the same area in August 2022 (below). Photos: Mark Bachmann

At ground level, the channel that was cut from northern Yards Hole into Little Bay as part of the aquaculture works in the 1990s is now unrecognisable.  It will be interesting to see what starts colonising these areas throughout the coming spring and summer.

Northern area of Yards Hole, August 2022. Photo: Bec Sheldon
Remediated channel area connecting Yards Hole to Little Bay, August, 2022. Photo: Bec Sheldon

The perimeter of Yards Hole proper, where the aquaculture moat was backfilled in March 2022, has started to settle. The water level of the wetland was elevated, and water was flowing out through more natural rills via the mudflats to Little Bay during our August visit. We expect this perimeter area to continue to consolidate over the coming years in response to ongoing rainfall and tidal events.

Eastern side of Yards Hole, newly remediated in March 2022 (top) and during August 2022 (bottom). Photos: Mark Bachmann

The elevated water level in Yard Hole has resulted in an increase in wetland extent. Our old water monitoring site on the eastern shore is now re-inundated and water is pushing out into backwater drainage areas in the eastern and western areas of the central wetland.

Southern Section of Eastern Levee, Long Point

The small southern section of the eastern levee bank was able to be safely accessed and restored in March 2022 and is rehabilitating well. It will be great to finish the remediation of the remaining old levees to the north and west in summer 2023.

Recovery of the southern section of the remediated eastern levee bank at Long Point, August 2022 . Photo: Mark Bachmann

Future Plans

Continuation of restoration works at Long Point is scheduled for February-March 2023, finalising the work commenced in summer 2022. We also anticipate holding another field day at the site around this time to provide an opportunity for those that attended the one held in May 2022 (and those who couldn’t make it!) to witness the transformation of the restored areas one year on. More details to follow!

We look forward to continuing to monitor and observe the outcomes of restoration works conducted at The Grange and Long Point over the coming year.

This important work is supported by NRM South, with funding provided via the Australian Government.

Bec Sheldon