The Macleay River Estuary is a main feature of the Mid North Coast and contains many sites of Aboriginal significance, indicating an occupation of the area of up to 4000 years. European history of the Macleay River dates to the area’s exploration in 1820.
The Macleay estuary is a mature barrier-dominated system in a high-energy ocean wave setting. It is a filled delta system dominated by fluvial processes. It can be broken into three broad process zones that reflect different degrees of fluvial and tidal interactions:
- the fluvial process zone extends from tidal limit at Belgrave Falls to Kinchela, including Belmore, Kinchela and Upper Clybucca Creek
- the fluvial-marine transitional zone extends from Kinchela to Jerseyville Bridge and includes most of Clybucca Creek
- the marine flood tide zone is dominated by marine derived sediment and extends from Jerseyville Bridge to the mouth of the Macleay River, including the abandoned Macleay Arm
The floodplain of the Macleay River estuary includes large backswamps and holds approximately 15% of total coastal floodplain wetlands in New South Wales. Mangroves on the Macleay River estuary cover an area of about 5 km², representing 5% of the state’s estuarine total, while seagrass and saltmarsh areas cover 1.1 km² and 3.7 km² of the estuary respectively.
To comply with the NSW Government’s Coastal Management Framework, the Macleay River Estuary Coastal Zone Management Plan is being reviewed and upgraded for inclusion in Kempsey Shire’s Coastal Zone Coastal Management Program (CMP), which will cover the shire’s primary estuaries and remaining coastal areas.
Management Plan and related documents
Macleay River Estuary – Data Compilation Report(PDF, 5MB) (and Appendix(PDF, 120KB))
Macleay River Estuary – Processes Study(PDF, 15MB)
Macleay River Estuary (Estuary Management Study)(PDF, 18MB)
Macleay River Estuary – Management Plan(PDF, 3MB)
Macleay River Estuary – Ecological Study
Part 1(PDF, 2MB)
Part 2(PDF, 1MB)
Part 3(PDF, 2MB)
Part 4(PDF, 3MB)
Part 5(PDF, 2MB)
Part 6(PDF, 2MB)
Part 7(PDF, 1MB)
Macleay River Estuary CMP Stage 1 Scoping Study(PDF, 8MB)