Moonee Creek

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

Moonee Creek estuary flows into the sea north of Coffs Harbour on the New South Wales north coast.

It is a barrier river estuary with an entrance predominantly open to the sea, but it is untrained and therefore often constricts tidal flow. Sugar Mill Creek is a tributary of the lower estuary and flows through one of the larger protected areas on this section of coastline.

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 Moonee Creek was completed over the 2021–22 summer when 2 sites were sampled on a monthly basis.

Moonee 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 'good' and water clarity is rated 'good' giving an overall rating of 'good' or 'B'.

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 good with:

  • algae abundance graded good (B)
  • water clarity graded good (B)
  • overall estuary health graded good (B).

Coffs Harbour City Council in collaboration with the University of New England’s EcoHealth program have carried out detailed ecosystem health monitoring in Moonee 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 Moonee Creek since 2009. This table shows the water quality grades for this estuary over that time.

Moonee 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) –30.21
Longitude (ºE) 153.16
Catchment area (km2) 41.1
Estuary area (km2) 0.4
Estuary volume (ML) 414.3
Average depth (m) 1.5
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 Moonee Creek is highly disturbed. About 40% of land use has changed from forest to urban and rural residential/grazing areas. The lower estuary flows through Moonee Beach Nature Reserve, which remains forested. The inland section of the catchment which is managed by Forestry Corporation is also forested.

National and marine parks

Community involvement

  • Coffs Harbour Regional Landcare provides workshops and supports volunteer conservation and environmental work along the Coffs Coast.
  • Bush regeneration work within the Coffs Coast Regional Park is coordinated through NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service Coffs Harbour bushcare and landcare. Twenty-two bushcare and landcare groups work in the Coffs Harbour area to protect and preserve this coastal area.
Moonee Creek