Rockwall brings sigh of relief

 The finishing touches: Pulling out the geo cloth after laying the rocks of the rock wall last Friday afternoon.
The finishing touches: Pulling out the geo cloth after laying the rocks of the rock wall last Friday afternoon.

Last Friday afternoon the completion of a rock wall brought about a huge sigh of relief for Millingandi land owner Alan Shand.

The 80-metre rock wall is just the beginning of a series of improvements to the Millingandi Creek, aimed at benefiting the ecosytem and health of the waterway which flows into Merimbula Lake.

It's an environmental action that Mr Shand has been waiting for for many years.

"I began petitioning around 18 years ago - not long after the bridge [Millingandi] was built and the highway was opened. Because of the highway build, at least 75 per cent of the floodplain was filled in," Mr Shand explained.

"The force of water, after big rain events, is like when a dam bursts open, causing scouring and erosion, uprooting big trees, pushing sediment and gravel downstream into Merimbula Lake," he explained.

After years of concern and building makeshift rock walls, and after discussions with South Coast Wilderness Oysters (SCWO) chairman Brett Weingarth, action was finally taken late last year.

SCWO and Mr Shand joined forces applying for and receiving a "Habitat Action Grant" through the NSW Department of Primary Industries.

NSW Soil Conservation Service designed and built 80 metres of rock wall designed to protect the creek banks as well as embedding rootball structures that will create water flow channels.

Mr Weingarth said the project is a result of many services working together.

"Everyone chipped in to make it happen. It's important to enhance and protect the water quality for sustainable fish habitat, for future generations and the environment."

Although this is just stage one of the three stage project, Mr Weingarth said it has been met with postive results.

This week work began installing 800 metres of fencing along the creeks edge, creating exclusion zones designed to keep farm stock at bay.

Mr Weingarth said the next phase will be regenerating the waterway through planting grey mangrove seedlings.

"We still have a bit of work to do - but so far it's coming along nicely," he said.

Part of the rock wall and rootball placed in the water at Millingandi Creek

Part of the rock wall and rootball placed in the water at Millingandi Creek