Myall River blocking up, no immediate plans to dredge

An aerial photograph of Hawks Nest Bay, close to the Singing Bridge, shows clear sand build-up in the foreground at low tide. All photos and graphic: Myall River Action Group.

SILT will block the Myall River by Christmas, a ferry skipper said this week.

Noel Gaunt, the skipper of the Y-Knot ferry that regularly plies the route between Tea Gardens and Nelson Bay, said there are now multiple areas of advanced silting and practical snarls.

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The first, and most obvious, is the maligned original ‘natural channel’, south of Corrie Island, the ongoing discussion about which always manages to ruffle some feathers.

The second is the area known by regulars on the water as ‘the squeeze’, the zone where Pindimar Bay becomes the Myall River, adjacent to the artificially-created Corrie Island channel.

The third, and perhaps the most alarming yet, is Hawks Nest Bay, the region around the oyster leases across from Moira Parade, and much closer to the bay side of the Singing Bridge, where significant sand shoaling is now visible at low tide.

“I always said that we’d probably be excluded (from entering the Myall River) from September on, and we are on track for that,” Mr Gaunt told News of The Area.

“Certainly, by Christmas, we will be precluded altogether.”

Mr Gaunt and members of the Myall River Action Group (MRAG) told News Of The Area even jet-skis are now running aground in the Natural Channel at low tide, and port markers that originally indicated the navigable channel are completely surrounded by built-up sand at various points approaching the bridge.

“It is critical,” said Mr Gaunt of the river’s condition.

Recent news reports have other estuary inlets, including Swansea, Ettalong and Forster, pushing for urgent dredging.

The last official update has the Myall River in its regular five-yearly dredging program, which means no dredging is slated for 18 months.

By Thomas O’KEEFE

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