Estuary name Powlett River Estuary
CMA West Gippsland CMA

The Powlett River Estuary is approximately 8km in length with a catchment area of 67.77km2. There are a number of bridges, roads and carparks in the area, that provide access to the estuary.

Estuary Values
  • significant bird species such as the Australasian Shoveler (Anas rhynchotis) Status- Vulnerable (Adv list), Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica) Status- Endangered (Adv list) and the Royal Spoonbill (Platalea regia) Status- Near Threatened (Adv list).
  • Swampy Riparian Woodland- Endangered
  • Swamp Scrub- Endangered
  • Coastal Tussock Saltmarsh- Vulnerable
  • Wet Saltmarsh Herbland-Depleted
  • Estuarine Wetland-Depleted
  • Coast Banksia Woodland-Vulnerable
  • a significant fish species that exists on the Powlett River estuary is the Australian Grayling.
  • non-motor boating
  • picnics
  • swimming
  • walking
  • bird watching
  • coastal middens
  • water supply
Estuary Threats
  • pest animals and plants
  • degraded water quality
  • bank instability
  • disturbance of acid sulphate soils
  • livestock access
  • altered marine exchange
  • rural drainage and drain clearing
  • litter
  • channelisation of the river channel
  • trampling and bank erosion associated with pedestrian access
Data Site observations
Status Active
Monitor group Powlett River EstuaryWatchers
Document Powlett_River_EMP_section1.pdf
Document Powlett_River_EMP_section2.pdf
Document WGCMA_PowlettRiver_EMP_summary.pdf
Document WGCMA_PowlettRiver_Threats.pdf
Document WGCMA_PowlettRiver_Values.pdf



Site details Options

Po1 Site one (Estuary Mouth)

Inactive Physico-Chemical 31-03-2010 - 09-06-2013

Middle of the estuary directly opposite the Powlett River Caravan Park and Mouth of the Powlett Carpark (site accessed in kayak).

Observations 5

Po2 Site two (Mouth of Powlett Road Bridge)

Active Physico-Chemical 13-03-2010 - 14-05-2019
Ocean side of Mouth of Powlett Road Bridge, in between the 6th and 7th reflector when coming from the Kilcunda side of bridge (approx halfway).
Observations 153

Po3 Site three (Bridge Creek)

Inactive Physico-Chemical 31-03-2010 - 14-04-2012

Monitoring is conducted from a kayak at the point where Bridge Creek (tributary) meets the Powlett River.

Observations 13

Po4 Site four (Old Town Drain)

Inactive Physico-Chemical 29-11-2010 - 14-04-2012

Site located in the middle of the river, directly opposite the old fence found on the upstream side of the old town drain.

Observations 8

Po5 Site five (Daly Bridge)

Active Physico-Chemical 01-04-2010 - 14-05-2019
Pedestrian bridge located at the end of Daly Street. This bridge crosses the Powlett River, and is part of the Kilcunda Rail Trail.
Observations 113

Po6 Site six (Fishing Hole)

Inactive Physico-Chemical 05-04-2010 - 01-07-2014

Second bend in river inland of Bass Hwy Bridge.

Observations 32

PoGB Powlett River Water Level Gauge Board

Active Gauge Board
This sites water level monitoring gauge board is located on the western river bank beside the Mouth of Powlett Road Bridge (downstream side).

PoMC Powlett River Mouth Condition Observation Site

Active Mouth Condition 13-03-2010 - 14-05-2019
Rocky platform located on eastern side of the river mouth.
Observations 165

Pop1 Powlett River Photopoint Site One

Active Photopoint 16-12-2012 - 16-05-2019
Sand dune located on the eastern side of the river, approx 70 metres from ocean waters edge.
Photos 446

Recent Events

Event Details
28-02-2019 Estuary Entrance Closure

The estuary mouth closed following a very long period of low river flows. 

01-03-2019 14:05
22-07-2018 Estuary Entrance Opening

A water level increase following recent rainfall / freshwater flow promoted a natural estuary opening, following a very short closure (2 days).

20-07-2018 Estuary Entrance Closure

The Powlett closed its connection to the ocean following large swells and tides in the days previous.

11-07-2018 Estuary Entrance Opening

On the 9th of July the sand berm was at approximately 2.21m AHD and the water levels were at 2.11m AHD (i.e. 10cm below height of sand berm). At 2.11m AHD the estuary was mostly made up of seawater from the weekends swells and tides. On the 10th of July, Freshwater Inflows further increased the water level height by to 2.21m AHD, which was enough to promote a natural opening early this morning (2am ish). Flows peaked at 455 ml / day on Sunday night / Monday morning and are currently at 125 ml / day. Surface waters were still quite salty during opening (i.e. 10,000 us/cm EC) resulting from the huge inputs of saltwater into the estuary over the weekend.

09-07-2018 Estuary Entrance Closure

The estuary mouth closed its connection to the ocean on Sunday night (8 July 2018) / Monday morning (9 July 2018) as a result of large ocean swells and tides over the weekend (7 and 8 July 2018). 

09-07-2018 17:20
20-06-2018 Estuary Entrance Opening

Following the artificial estuary mouth opening on the 19th of June 2018 (i.e. yesterday), many waterbirds were present collecting fish stranded in isolated pools on the surrounding floodplain and those being flushed back into the main river channel from historic and current floodplain drains. 

20-06-2018 14:15
19-06-2018 Estuary Entrance Opening

An artificial opening was conducted @ 2.41m AHD with a flow of 379 mega litres per day (i.e. two days prior at wattlebank). Ocean swells were small and water quality conditions were suitable.

19-06-2018 16:30
19-06-2018 Water level

Over the previous few years the Bass Coast Shire Council has incrementally increased the height of the Mouth of the Powlett Road. During this years closure approximately 1/3 of the road was inundated at 2.375m AHD (see image attached). Even at 2.41m AHD later in the day prior to the artificial estuary opening the road was still useable, with water covering a fraction more than 1/3 of the road. 

19-06-2018 08:30
View all events

Estuary Snapshots

The EstuaryWatch snapshots provide a summary of estuary condition on a particular day. For all EstuaryWatch Snapshots, photopoint photos and a longitudinal water quality profile from the estuary mouth  to the inland extent is displayed. Read more

Full estuary snapshots below use dates where samples at every active monitoring site were recorded. View full and partial snapshots

Autumn 2019

Summer 2019

Spring 2018

Winter 2018

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