Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group has recently been recognised for its world-class migratory shorebird offset - a commitment to Working with Nature

The tidal wetlands around the Port of Newcastle are home to some of Australia’s most threatened species and communities. The coastal saltmarsh vegetation community and numerous species of migratory wader birds, such as the critically endangered Eastern Curlew and Curlew Sandpiper, are increasingly losing habitat along the Australasian-East Asian Flyway.

Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group has undertaken a project to help conserve these ecological values - one of the most significant habitat restoration projects for migratory shorebirds in Australia. The NCIG Migratory Shorebird Habitat has been recognised internationally, namely by the World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure, for its approach to Working with Nature. We are proud to have developed this project, and look forward to the outcomes it creates for our local biodiversity.

The Project

Construction of habitat in an area known as Area E on Ash Island includes four major activities:

  • Restoration of 24 hectares of migratory wader habitat, including removal of 17 hectares of juvenile mangroves
  • Installation of an automated flood gate to manage tidal levels and manage re-establishment of mangroves in the habitat
  • Installation of mangrove seed screens to prevent mangrove seeds from floating into the habitat system
  • Installation of "bird diverter" devices on local electricity infrastructure to make power lines more visible to birds flying in and out of the habitat

Outcomes

Early outcomes for the migratory wader habitat have been:

  • Successful removal of 17 hectares of juvenile mangroves from Area E, that have established since removal of flood control structures in 2000. Prior to this, Area E was a known site for migratory shorebirds in the Hunter Estuary. The mangroves were removed using a method that caused the least impact possible through a combination of specially selected machinery, plant and teams of workers on foot
  • This is the first migratory shorebird habitat restoration project of its type and scale conducted in Australia, perhaps the Southern Hemisphere. The success of the project to date has supported the previously untried technologies for mangrove removal in a wetland environment
  • Nine (9) migratory shorebirds have been observed using the habitat since 2016. These birds include the critically endangered Curlew Sandpiper, Eastern Curlew and Bar-tailed Godwit

Stakeholder Outcomes

One of the most notable achievements of the project to date has been the collaborative approach taken with various stakeholders in the conservation of the local ecology. Newcastle Coal views the CHEMP as a partnership-style program where all local and regional stakeholders can play a role. To date Newcastle Coal has partnered with the following organisations and government departments:

These relationships have provided cutting edge research, complimentary ecological outcomes, community involvement and habitat restoration among many other tangible benefits.

Related Environmental information

What does our Community Support Program do?

We're committed to supporting the communities in and around where our major infrastructure is located.

Subscribe to the NCIG Community Newsletter.