Coffs Creek

Our water quality monitoring program has shown Coffs Creek to have fair water quality. Find out more about the estuary and its unique features.

Coffs Creek is a barrier river estuary located in Coffs Harbour on the mid-north coast of New South Wales. The entrance is untrained and constricted, and the shallow tidal waters are a popular spot for beachgoers.

The estuary sits entirely within the city limits and is mostly lined with mangroves.

Estuary health and features

Water quality

As part of our water quality monitoring program we assess the water quality and ecosystem health of an estuary using a range of relevant indicators. We sample a subset of the estuaries located between the Queensland border and Taree every 3 years. The most recent sampling in Coffs Creek was completed over the 2021–22 summer when 2 sites were sampled on a monthly basis.

Coffs Creek water quality report card for algae and water clarity showing colour-coded ratings (red, orange, yellow, light green and dark green, which represent very poor, poor, fair, good and excellent, respectively). Algae is rated 'very poor' and water clarity is rated 'good' giving an overall rating of 'fair' or 'C'.

This report card represents 2 water quality indicators that we routinely measure: the amount of algae present and water clarity. Low levels of these 2 indicators equate with good water quality.

The report card shows the condition of the estuary was fair with:

  • algae abundance graded very poor (E)
  • water clarity graded good (B)
  • overall estuary health graded fair (C).

Coffs Harbour City Council, in collaboration with the University of New England’s EcoHealth Program, have carried out detailed ecosystem health monitoring in Coffs Creek. The results of the monitoring program, including a detailed water quality report card, are available on the Coffs Harbour City Council website.

Find out more about our estuary report cards and what each grade means. Read our sampling, data analysis and reporting protocols and find out how we calculate these grades.

We have monitored water quality in Coffs Creek since 2009. This table shows the water quality grades for this estuary over that time.

Coffs Creek historic water quality grades from 2009-10 for algae and water clarity. Colour-coded ratings (red, orange, yellow, light green and dark green represent very poor (E), poor (D), fair (C), good (B) and excellent (A), respectively).

Grades for algae, water clarity and overall are represented as:

  • A – excellent
  • B – good
  • C – fair
  • D – poor
  • E – very poor.

Physical characteristics

Estuary type: Barrier river

Latitude (ºS) –30.30
Longitude (ºE) 153.14
Catchment area (km2) 24
Estuary area (km2) 0.5
Estuary volume (ML) 292.7
Average depth (m) 0.6
Notes: km2 = square kilometres; m = metres; ML = megalitres.

Water depth and survey data

Bathymetric and coastal topography data for this estuary are available in our data portal.

Land use

The catchment of Coffs Creek has seen a lot of disturbance. Urban development has driven much of the land-use changes along with industrial development and horticulture, such as banana plantations. Less than 20% of the catchment remains as forest.

National and marine parks

Community involvement

Coffs Creek