Belongil Creek and Tallow Creek open

Published on 10 July 2024

brown water in creek meeting the waves of the ocean

Belongil Creek and Tallow Creek are both open and flowing into the ocean.

With last week’s wet weather Tallow Creek opened naturally while Council mechanically opened the mouth of Belongil Creek.

Council, in accordance with approvals from the NSW Marine Parks Authority and Crown Lands, used an excavator to dig a channel through the sandbar at the mouth of Belongil Creek to release water levels in the catchment due to low level inundation experienced on the floodplain and around the town centre.

Belongil Creek and Tallow Creek are naturally occurring intermittently closed and open lakes and lagoons (ICOLL) which open and closes to the ocean. 

ICOLLS are regarded as highly sensitive marine environments and there are strict protocols and rules in place relating to any attempt to artificially open the creeks because of the high risk of fish kills.

Chloe Dowsett, Coastal and Biodiversity Coordinator, said that due to the low-lying and flood prone nature of Byron Bay, when water levels in Belongil Creek (and Tallow Creek) build up and wet weather is forecast the sand at the creek mouth sometimes has to be shifted manually,” Ms Dowsett said.

“The sudden rush of creek water to the ocean can rapidly deplete oxygen levels and cause fish kills and we have detailed plans and processes in place to reduce the chances of this happening.

“I am pleased to report that there have been no signs of fish kills which is great news,” Ms Dowsett said.


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