Shoalhaven River

Physical characteristics

Latitude (ºS)-34.90
Longitude (ºE)150.77
Catchment area (km2)17085.8
Estuary area (km2)1,231.9
Estuary volume (ML)386508.6
Average depth (m)42.9
Roy et al. (2001) classification5III/5/D
Entrance condition6O
  1. Derived from DECCW (2010) NSW estuaries and coastal catchments spatial database.
  2. Includes area mapped as open water (see note 1), mangrove and saltmarsh areas (Creese R. G., Glasby T. M., West G. and Gallen C. (2009) Mapping the habitats of NSW estuaries. Industry & Investment NSW Fisheries Final Report Series 113. Port Stephens, NSW, Australia.
  3. Based on areas at 0.6 m AHD (Roper T., Creese B., Scanes P., Stephens K., Williams R., Dela-Cruz J., Coade G. and Coates B. (2011) Assessing the condition of estuaries and coastal lake ecosystems in NSW. Office of Environment and Heritage, Sydney).
  4. Estimated by dividing the total volume at 0.6 m AHD by the total surface area of the estuary including mangrove areas but excluding saltmarsh (Roper et al., 2011)
  5. Estuary group: I = oceanic embayment, II = tide dominated estuary, III = wave dominated estuary, IV = intermittently closed estuary V = freshwater bodies
    Estuary type: 1 = ocean embayments, 3 = drowned valley estuary, 5 = barrier estuary, 6 = barrier lagoon, 7 = interbarrier estuary, 8 = saline coastal lagoon, 9 = small coastal creeks, 11 = brackish barrier lake. Evolution stage: A=youthful, B=intermediate, C=semi-mature, D=mature.
    (P. S. Roy, R. J. Williams, A. R. Jones, I. Yassini, P. J. Gibbs, B. Coates, R. J. West, P. R. Scanes, J. P. Hudson and S. Nichol (2001) Structure and Function of South-east Australian Estuaries. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 53, 351-384)
  6. Entrance conditions: O = open, T = trained, I = intermittent.

Tidal prism

The volume of water moving past a fixed cross section during each flood tide or ebb tide (i.e. slack water to slack water), is referred to as the tidal prism of an estuary.

The following table shows the measured tidal prism at the location specified, along with the tidal range for near the measurement site and at Sydney Harbour.

Location:     1.1km upstream from Crookhaven Lighthouse on 21/9/05

Tide stateFlow
(106 m3
tidal range (m)
Sydney Harbour
tidal range (m)
Ebb flow18.351.241.38
Flood flow

Tidal survey

Tidal surveys measure the hydrodynamic behaviour of an estuary during a full tidal cycle. The parameters measured include velocity, water levels, salinity, temperature and pH.

The following tidal surveys have been undertaken on this estuary. A map shows the location and plots of the flows and water levels for the most comprehensive survey.

Copies of tidal survey reports are available from the Estuary Management Program

DateData collectedFigureReport
Jun 1971Half cycle current metering at four lines on two field trips, water levels at three tideboards.-MHL157
Aug 1974Flood metering.-MHL194
Jun 1975Flood metering.-MHL194
Jun 1979Current metering on five lines over a full tidal cycle – six tideboards, temp/salinity and suspended sediment.-MHL282
Mar 1983Current metering on five lines over a full tidal cycle - six tideboards, temp/salinity and suspended sediment. Longitudinal salinity profile.-MHL396
Apr 1989Current metering at four lines, eight tideboards, temp/salinity and drogue tracking.-MHL562
Apr 1992Dye dispersion experiments between Nowra Bridge and Berrys Canal. In addition three current meters were deployed for twelve days.-MHL620
Jun 1993Current metering at three lines using ADCP, moored current meters and a CTD probe.-MHL661
Aug 1996Water levels were measured at five sites, velocities at five sites, in situ water quality at one site, water quality profiles at 125 sites and drogue tracking. Shoalhaven entrance closed.-MHL786
Sep 2005 to Apr 2006Extensive data collection: water levels at twelve sites; velocities at seven sites; water quality profiles at thirty-three sites; and in-situ water quality at four sites.1988-42.pdfMHL1450

Hydrographic survey

The hydrographic survey provides the depth and physical characteristics of the estuary.

The metadata associated with the survey can be found on the map sheets provided.

Map sheet number DescriptionScale    Size
56228s01.pdfIndex plan1:300002158.8kb
56228s02.pdfLegends, notes, datum diagramN/A381.6kb
56228s03.pdfCross section locations - Broughton Creek1:10000644.4kb
56228s04.pdfCross section locations - Crookhaven Creek1:10000720.4kb
56228s05.pdfCross section locations - Shoalhaven River mid estuary tributaries1:10000938.9kb
56228s06.pdfShoalhaven River entrance & offshore1:50001399.7kb
56228s07.pdfShoalhaven River - Long Reach1:50001471.0kb
56228s08.pdfShoalhaven River - Calymea Reach (Bamarang)1:50001131.3kb
56228s09.pdfShoalhaven River - Barringella Reach (Burrier)1:5000895.8kb
56228s10.pdfCrookhaven River (Orient Point)1:2500762.2kb
56228s11.pdfCrookhaven River (Greenwell Point)1:2500742.1kb
56228s12.pdfUpper Crookhaven River1:2500431.4kb
56228s13.pdfShoalhaven Heads1:25001486.9kb
56228s14.pdfShoalhaven River (Coolangatta)1:25001489.8kb
56228s15.pdfShoalhaven River (Numbaa)1:25001319.6kb
56228s16.pdfShoalhaven River (Bolong)1:25001226.8kb
56228s17.pdfShoalhaven River (Terara)1:25001276.4kb
56228s18.pdfShoalhaven River (Nowra)1:25001502.1kb
56228s19.pdfShoalhaven River (Mundamia, North Nowra)1:25001773.7kb
56228s20.pdfComerong Island1:2000514.5kb
56228s21.pdfBerrys Canal (north)1:20001158.9kb
56228s22.pdfCrookhaven River (Crookhaven Heads)1:20001602.1kb
56228s23.pdfCrookhaven River (Greenwell Point)1:20001509.2kb
56228s24.pdfBerrys Canal (central)1:20001041.2kb
56228s25.pdfCross sections - Broughton Creek1:1000 H 1:200 V390.1kb
56228s26.pdfCross sections - Broughton Creek1:1000 H 1:200 V348.8kb
56228s27.pdfCross sections - tributary creeks1:1000 H 1:200 V263.5kb
56228s28.pdfCross sections - Calymea Ck & Crookhaven Ck1:1000 H 1:200 V162.8kb
56228.txtShoalhaven River xyz dataN/A2817.9kb
10128s01.pdfIndex plan1:10000432.0kb
10128s02.pdfBerrys Canal (north)1:4000344.9kb
10128s03.pdfBerrys Canal (south)1:4000348.3kb
Page last updated: 27 April 2012