Tasmanian Field Day review: showcasing wetland and saltmarsh restoration at The Grange and Long Point

On a perfect, sunny autumn day Tasmania’s east coast on Thursday 11th May 2023, NGT, in partnership with NRM South and the Tasmanian Land Conservancy (TLC), hosted a field day at Long Point and The Grange properties, which border the Moulting Lagoon Ramsar site. The event provided an opportunity for those who attended the previous field day held in May 2022 to see the impact of restoration works one year on, and for all attendees to celebrate the culmination of three years’ work and witness the completion of the Moulting Lagoon restoration works in their entirety.

The field day was attended by approximately 30 people, as staff from NGT, TLC and NRM South, hosted attendees from all around the state, including community members, landholders and representatives from various Tasmanian NRM organisations and state government agencies.

Field day attendees, Barkstand Point. Photo: N. Laurence, NRM South.

The field day commenced with Laurel McGinnity from NRM South giving an overview of the broader ’Improving the Ecological Character of the Moulting Lagoon and Apsley Marshes Ramsar Sites’ project, followed by Mark Bachmann from NGT providing a specific overview of the eco-hydrological assessment process and restoration works undertaken across The Grange and Long Point properties.

First stop was again Yards Hole on The Grange, where we investigated the northern outlet area, where a series of small dams and an artificial channel to Little Bay (established in the 1990s as part of an aquaculture development) were remediated in March 2022.

Mark sharing details of the Yards Hole outlet restoration works. Photo: Justine Latton.

We then traversed the eastern edge of Yards Hole to observe the bulk earth works, also completed in March 2022, to backfill a channel (essentially resembling a moat) that had been excavated around the perimeter of the wetland as part of the same aquaculture development. The rapid regeneration of saltmarsh in both of these areas had to be seen to be believed.

Saltmarsh recovery at Yards Hole one year after remediation. Photo: Mark Bachmann

Although the wet, persistent La Niña conditions somewhat constrained the timing and methods for works at the site, it is these very conditions that have spring-boarded the recovery of saltmarsh communities on recently restored ground.

Devil hind-foot print in the saltmarsh mud at Long Point Reserve. Photo: Mark Bachmann

We then trekked across the eastern edge of The Grange to Long Point, where Glenn Bain (TLC) introduced us to the WildTracker program which has focused on the monitoring of fauna across the property using camera traps. Glenn shared the program methods, including some hands-on experience with fish emulsion – which devils apparently can’t refuse! – and recent findings with us from surveys on the property, which included devils, wombats, quolls, wallabies, but also introduced species such as cats and rodents. We were also lucky enough to see some Tasmanian Devil prints in the saltmarsh mud later in the day!

After taking a look over the remediated small dam near the Long Point entrance gate, the group then traipsed across to Barkstand Point and Opening Hole, to take in the extent of the bulk earthworks required to backfill the substantial artificial Barkstand channel which previously connected at either end to Moulting Lagoon north of Barkstand Point.

Walking across the northern boundary of Opening Hole on our way to Barkstand Point. Photo: G. Isdale, NRM South.

This original channel was also constructed in the early 1990s as part of the failed aquaculture works, and incorporated a number of smaller drainage features and ponds. With the completion of works this autumn, the natural geomorphology and hydrology of this area has now been restored.

The elevated Barkstand Point provided a fitting lunch spot and allowed us to take in the views of the Long Point property and discuss the completion of the restoration works in March 2023. Sean Guinane (TLC) gave us an overview of ongoing revegetation and weed control programs at Long Point and we were able to inspect recent transplants of saltmarsh species in the Barkstand channel works areas. These are designed to assist and potentially fast-track the natural regeneration of adjacent saltmarsh areas.

From Barkstand Point, we were able to walk across to the southern end of the main eastern levee which was restored in March 2022. Again, the saltmarsh recovery on this thin strip of land was impressive to see and the equalisation of flows across this former embankment was now evident.

Saltmarsh recovery in progress – southern section of the main eastern levee restored in March 2022, showing saltmarsh regeneration and evidence of the equalisation of flows on either side of the works footprint. Photo: G. Isdale, NRM South.

We then walked off the site, passing the small western levee which was restored in March 2023. As shown below, water was now readily passing and equalising through this area too, which was a rewarding sight for all attendees and a great way to close out the visit to TLC’s Long Point Reserve!

The western levee at Long Point. From top to bottom, these images show: (a) the site in March 2023 before works, (b) the completed remediation works, and (c) the inundated floodway during our visit on the 11th May 2023. Photos: Mark Bachmann

Together with the TLC, we will continue to monitor the recovery of the approximately 9 ha of remediated ground, including both the levee and drainage areas. Of course, beyond the immediate disturbance footprint of the works, an additional 114 hectares of saltmarsh habitat is now being positively influenced by these hydrological restoration works, noting that these areas of saltmarsh will continue to recover (adapting to the restored hydrological regime) over the years ahead.

For those of you who were unable to attend the field day but are interested to learn more, the information we provided to attendees on the day is now available for you to download or print by clicking here, or the via the pdf viewer below.


Overall, the field day was a resounding success and was well received by attendees. It was great to provide the opportunity to showcase the recently completed restoration works and get a sense of what the remediated ground may look like as the process of recovery continues. Although the current NRM South project wraps up in June 2023, we’ll hopefully get another opportunity in future to share the progress of recovery at these sites, as we continue to track them through time.

Thank you to all those that attended and have expressed ongoing interest in this important project. A special thanks to Elise Jeffery of TLC and Laurel McGinnity of NRM South for their assistance in helping to coordinate and host the event.

Sharing a late afternoon cuppa and cookie at the end of the day. Photo: G. Isdale, NRM South.

This important work is supported by NRM South, with funding provided via the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program

Bec Sheldon