Sand shoals congest the Manning River entrance at Old Bar

Blocked: Sand shoals at Farquhar Inlet restrict access and flow to the Manning River at its Old Bar entrance. Photo: Ashley Cleaver - Cleavers Images

Blocked: Sand shoals at Farquhar Inlet restrict access and flow to the Manning River at its Old Bar entrance. Photo: Ashley Cleaver - Cleavers Images

The mouth of the Manning River at Farquhar Inlet is choked with sand. Low tide reveals sand shoals are forming at the entrance at Old Bar and as they build the flow and flushing of the Manning River is decreasing.

Ashley Cleaver took to the sky on October 8 and captured the congestion at the river mouth. His photo provides compelling evidence of the need for the river mouth to be cleared and it ignited public commentary about the shifting sand and river management when shared on the Cleavers Images Facebook page.

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One week earlier Athol Dever of Taree visited the inlet to fish at low tide and observed that “what Mother Nature has done to the south passage of the Manning has resulted in a desert of sand from Charlie’s Island to Mudbishop’s old joint and all channels that led to the inlet no longer exist.”

“Maybe a large flood will open it again.”

Rainfall of five to 15 millimetres each day for the next four days is predicted by the Bureau of Meteorology, however it will not clear the mouth as a minor flood event is required to shift the sand.

The Farquhar Inlet Management Group (FIMG) and MidCoast Council are monitoring the mouth of the river at Old Bar and Harrington, and are aware of community calls for dredging to restore the entrance. However the community-funded FIMG dredge is not be tasked with the job as it’s being sold.

FIMG vice president Greg Crisp said the community campaign to buy, refurbish and then conduct numerous dredging operations over five years at the mouth of the Manning River at Old Bar and Harrington had been a success. 

“It’s done it’s job of bringing the need for dredging to the attention of council and the State government,” Mr Crisp said.

“The new MidCoast Council will be implementing the recommendations in the Entrance Opening Management Plan to ensure that the water quality is retained in the river. The council is also proposing to dredge the Harrington back channel and deepen channels for navigation to the Farquhar Park camping area,” Mr Crisp said.

“MidCoast Council will be calling for tenders for a commercial dredging operator in the Manning and Great Lakes areas.”

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