Pittwater waterbird habitat survey and mapping

Pittwater waterbird habitat survey and mapping

Waterbirds, both locally occurring and migratory, are an integral part of the ecosystem of the Pittwater estuary. Pittwater is currently one of the few remaining known habitats of the Bush Stone-curlew (an Endangered Species) in the Sydney region, with a known pair in Careel Bay. Despite the ecological significance of waterbirds, there is little baseline data on their distribution. Being dependent on estuaries they are vulnerable to, and indicative of, degradative processes. Climate change and sea level rise and changes to hydrodynamics have the potential to modify the condition and extent of habitat available for waterbirds in Pittwater.

Pittwater Council currently has, in draft form, the Pittwater Foreshore Floodplain Mapping of Sea Level Rise Impacts report. The report provides a GIS layer identifying weekly, yearly and extreme tides predicted for 2010, 2050 and 2100. The aim of the report is to review, update and expand the current Estuarine Planning Level Mapping, to incorporate adopted sea level benchmarks, within the framework of the NSW Floodplain Risk Management Process. This will offer information about the likely current and future impacts of tidal inundation due to sea level rise around the foreshore of the Estuary.

This project is aimed at building on the current and proposed waterbird studies by Hornsby Council occurring within the management area of the Lower Hawkesbury Estuary Management Plan. Hornsby also aims to identify where important migratory and estuarine waterbird populations may be lost or re-established as a result of climate change. This project will extend Hornsby’s work to a regional scale.


Pittwater extends from Mona Vale and Warriewood in the south, along the eastern ridge of the Peninsular leading to Palm Beach and along the western ridge leading to West Head.

Pittwater estuary and surrounding lands contain a wide range of estuary habitats. These include rocky shores, mangroves, seagrasses, saltmarsh, sandy shoals (as both fluvial deltas and a flood tide marine shoal) and deep open water environments.

Research Program: 
Research Themes: 
Rivers and Wetlands

Publications for this project

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