Popular Cattai wetlands to re-open after fires

Over 200m of timber boardwalk was lost and has now been rebuilt by MidCoast Council, together with the replacement of a number of signs.
Over 200m of timber boardwalk was lost and has now been rebuilt by MidCoast Council, together with the replacement of a number of signs.

After being closed for over a year, Cattai Wetlands will reopen to the public on Monday 30 November.

The much-loved wetland was closed after sustaining significant damage, both environmental and structural, during the bushfires of 2019.

Over 200m of timber boardwalk was lost and has now been rebuilt by MidCoast Council, together with the replacement of a number of signs.

Extensive areas of the wetland and surrounding vegetation were also burnt which resulted in damage to a large number of trees along the walking tracks, posing a safety risk to the public.

These trees have now been made safe following a risk assessment by Council's Tree Management Officer and remedial works have also been undertaken by a professional arborist.

Prior to the bushfires Cattai Wetlands was already suffering greatly from the effects of one of the worst droughts on record which left the wetlands and Coopernook Creek completely dry.

The compounding impacts of the fire together with the lowering of the groundwater table also resulted in some of the highest acidity levels recorded for some time following the flood event in February/March this year.

However Council staff are pleased with the progress so far and say Cattai Wetlands is showing good signs of recovery.

"Paperbarks are re-sprouting and the wetlands are once again full of water providing a wonderland for hundreds of waterbirds including the Black Swans & their cygnets," said MidCoast Council's Sustainability and Natural Assets Coordinator, Tanya Cross.

"Koalas, which have not been seen for many years, have also made a return to the Wetlands, and kangaroos and wallabies have been making good use of the drinking stations that were set up after the bushfires, it's all really positive."

Staff have also been making intensive efforts to control environmental weeds which flourished after the bushfires, along with a feral deer control program, with funding provided though the NSW Coastal and Estuary Grants Program - Bushfire Affected Coastal Waterways & Council's Environmental Rate.

"Our team, along with many other agencies, has been working really hard to rejuvenate Cattai and we're all delighted to see how far it has come," added Tanya.

"And it will be great to see the public once again enjoying this wonderful natural asset."

Cattai Wetlands is open from 8am to 3pm weekdays and 7am to 5pm weekends.

This story Popular Cattai wetlands to re-open after fires first appeared on Port Macquarie News.