The Penrhyn Estuary Habitat Enhancement Plan (PEHEP) is one of NSW’s most ambitious estuarine habitat creation projects in the state’s history. The Penrhyn Estuary is the only significant, remaining shorebird habitat on the northern side of Sydney’s Botany Bay. The small estuary was artificially created during the reclamation of the Botany foreshore between 1975 and 1978 and, despite hosting a diverse range of migratory shorebirds, it has a legacy of pollution.
Cardno was engaged to monitor and assess the success of the PEHEP over five years. Drawing on our experience and expertise in environmental assessment and management of marine environments, we designed and delivered five integrated monitoring strategies covering shorebirds, benthos (flora and fauna on the ocean floor), saltmarsh, seagrass and water quality.
While the results in 2017, after four years of the five-year monitoring program, were positive, including the increase in numbers of certain migratory seabird species, the overall abundance of seabirds remains below the target pre-construction conditions.
Our future research will focus on the continued sustainability of the shorebird roosting and feeding habitats, the ongoing regrowth of seagrass in the created habitats and, it is hoped, document the return of the targeted number of shorebird species.