The Restoration of Manly (Queenscliff) Lagoon
"You may - if you have any soul within you, you always must - halt a while in the centre of the bridge, and look long and lovingly up the lagoon. It is a fair perspective always, but most divine on an afternoon with the sun well down the hills, and a silvery light upon all the broadwater."
- Francis Meyer, 1880, "Beautiful Manly"
Manly Lagoon is a shallow coastal lagoon 12 kilometres north-east of the Sydney Central Business District. The water body of the lagoon has a surface area of 13 hectares and extends 3 kilometres west and north from the lagoon mouth on Queenscliff beach. The lagoon has a catchment of 1800 hectares consisting of 3 sub-catchments drained by the major creeks including Burnt Bridge Creek, Manly Creek and Brookvale Creek.
Once an unspoilt coastal wetland, and only 30 years ago a swimmable waterway providing fish habitat and numerous recreational opportunities, Manly Lagoon is now 10% of its original size and is considered one of the most polluted recreational waterways in NSW. Swimming, boating and fishing are banned due to polluted water and sediment.
Manly Lagoon Estuary Management Study, 1995: "The water of the lagoon is eutrophic (oxygen depleted) and sensitive to further increases in nutrient inputs ... Manly Lagoon sediment is contaminated with heavy metals and, compared with Sydney Harbour or Curl Curl Lagoon, has the highest average levels of copper and lead ... Indigenous vegetation is severely depleted... as such, any areas of remnant vegetation should be maintained and conserved as a valuable resource."
Table of Land use in Manly Lagoon Catchment
|Type of Land Use||Area (km2)||Area (%)|
|Residential - low density||6.62||37|
|- low-medium density||2.31||13|
|Open Spaces - Recreation||2.67||20.3|
|Education & Technical Facilities||11.7||7|
The open space generally lies adjacent to the lagoon and its tributaries. Approximately half of the open space is linked to Manly Dam, which ceased operating as a water supply source in 1942 and is now a recreational resource.
Source: Manly Lagoon Estuary Management Study 1995
The Water Quality Monitoring & Rehabilitation of Manly Lagoon Catchment Project
A National Landcare Grant to the Manly Environment Centre (MEC) has funded the continued employment of a Catchment Liaison Officer (CLO) whose role is to work with the community, industry, golf courses, students and other stakeholders to enhance the Manly Lagoon Catchment.