Seawalls

Seawalls are man made habitats built over rocky shores to protect the erosion of the shoreline.
The seawalls research will be conducted at sites in North Sydney and Mosman Council areas.
Seawall at Cremorne Point
You can find an extensive gallery of photographs on the Images page.
This map shows Careening and Cremorne Points where flowerpots, acting as rock pools at low tide, have been attached to seawalls since December 2008.
Background info:
  • Australia is one of the most urbanised countries in the world with over 75% of the population living in towns and cities. 
  • Only 10% of Sydney Harbour’s original shoreline remains.
  • Seawalls are part of our iconic landscape but compared to natural shores they are largely bare. 
  • The number of seawalls, built of concrete and sandstone, in coastal habitats is increasing due to population growth and rising sea levels. 

Existing study:

Researchers from the Centre for Research on Ecological Impacts of Coastal Cities are focused on the substantial amount of seawalls infrastructure needed to maintain and encourage biodiversity. 

The first step is to work with people who repair infrastructure and then improve biodiversity outcomes for them. Some of these methods include drilling holes into existing walls or assembling pot plant moulds along the walls… in other words, retrofitting environments. The researchers are also aware these habitats can attract invasive organisms, in which case, biodiversity is achieved at a cost.

  • Most recent research has shown it is possible to increase the number of plants and animals on a seawall by adding flowerpots which retain water during low tide. 
  • More flowerpots will be added to harbour seawalls in North Sydney and Mosman and monitored during 2010.

See the related article which appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald on 17 October 2009 here.

Running conclusions

  • Possible to modify seawalls
  • Need collaborations with industry and landowners
  • Scientists don’t have resources to fully assess impacts

Identified Stakeholders:

  • Scientists
  • Residents
  • Any other interested members of the public
  • Sydney Ports
  • NSW Maritime
  • Department of Environmental and Climate Change NSW
  • North Sydney Council
  • Mosman Council
  • Bio-Analysis Marine, Estuarine and Freshwater Ecology
  • NSW Department of Primary Industries

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