Woolgoolga Lake estuary is situated in Woolgoolga on the north coast of New South Wales. It is classed as a lagoon with an intermittently closed/open entrance. The estuary is surrounded by urban development.
Our water quality monitoring program has shown Woolgoolga Lake to have excellent water quality. Find out more about the estuary and its unique features.
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 Woolgoolga Lake was completed over the 2021–22 summer when 2 sites were sampled on a monthly basis.
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 excellent with:
- algae abundance graded excellent (A)
- water clarity graded good (B)
- overall estuary health graded excellent (A).
Coffs Harbour City Council in collaboration with the University of New England’s EcoHealth program have carried out detailed ecosystem health monitoring in Woolgoolga Lake. 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 Woolgoolga Lake since 2009. This table shows the water quality grades for this estuary over that time.
Grades for algae, water clarity and overall are represented as:
- A – excellent
- B – good
- C – fair
- D – poor
- E – very poor.
Estuary type: Lagoon
|Catchment area (km2)||21|
|Estuary area (km2)||0.2|
|Estuary volume (ML)||67|
|Average depth (m)||0.4|
Water depth and survey data
Bathymetric and coastal topography data for this estuary are available in our data portal.
The catchment of Woolgoolga Lake is highly disturbed. Urban areas around Woolgoolga and grazing/horticulture each occupy about 20% of the catchment. Over half of the catchment, especially in the upper reaches, remains forested and managed by NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and Forestry Corporation.
National and marine parks
- The largest conservation area in the Woolgoolga Lake catchment is Sherwood Nature Reserve.
- Coffs Coast Regional Park is located on the northern side of the estuary mouth.
- Woolgoolga Lake is part of the Solitary Islands Marine Park.
- Coffs Harbour Regional Landcare provides workshops and volunteer work opportunities along the Coffs Coast.
- There are 22 bushcare and landcare groups in the Coffs Harbour area, including in Woolgoolga. These groups mainly work within the Coffs Coast Regional Park. For more information go to the National Parks and Wildlife Service Coffs Harbour bushcare and landcare webpage.
Local government management
Local councils manage estuaries within their area unless the estuary is attached to a marine park.
Woolgoolga Lake estuary is managed Coffs Harbour City Council and the NSW Department of Primary Industries as part of the Solitary Islands Marine Park. Information about this estuary can be found on the Council’s Woolgoolga Lake webpage.