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Oyster shells help fight river bank erosion

Oysters aren’t just good to eat they are being used in an innovative, cost effective and eco-friendly technique to combat bank erosion along the Crookhaven River.

Jerringa Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC), Riverwatch, local oyster growers, a dairy farmer and South East Local Land Services, with $6,000 in funding from Catchment Action NSW, recently joined forces to build a sausage-like structure made from jute matting and waste oyster shells along a 50 metre stretch of the river bank.

Senior Land Services Officer, Leesa Swan said the project aims to protect the bank from wave and wind action, reduce sedimentation and improve water quality for oyster growers.

“Over 5,000 kilograms of disused oyster shells were used to build the structure,” Ms Swan said.

“That’s natural waste that is being reused rather than going to landfill.

“Greenwell Point oyster growers stockpiled shells and helped with the transport and construction.

“This temporary protection of the riverbank is expected to last from three to five years as the oyster shells eventually breakdown and compact.

“Project works also included the installation of 75 metres of mangrove protection fencing and planting of 350 mangrove seedlings to boost aquatic and animal habitat.  Once the mangroves are well established they will help with the ongoing protection of the bank.

“Riverwatch propagated the mangrove seedlings and were on site to install the fencing and plant the seedlings.”
Jerringa LALC Chief Executive Officer Alfred Wellington said two members of the Jerringa LALC crew worked on country at the site over three days and gained new skills in natural resource management.

“The project provided the work crew with an opportunity to contribute to a project that is protecting a culturally significant site and benefiting the many users of the river,” Mr Wellington said.

Media contact:  Leesa Swan (02) 4424 9715 or 0418 672 360