Lake Conjola Management Information

Shoalhaven City Council has been working with the Lake Conjola Community Association and the NSW State Government to manage the lake and its entrance, following the closure of the lake in April 2018. Council appreciates that the recent closure of the lake and raised lake levels have been the cause of anxiety for residents and visitors of Lake Conjola.

Council has created this “Get Involved” project page to assist the community in accessing up to date information on the management of the Lake and the entrance. Council will be providing timelines, reports, studies, resolutions and works that Council is undertaking to improve the health of Lake Conjola and manage the flooding risk on this page.

This page provides the following information and functions:


Coastal Management Program (CMP)

The Shoalhaven Coastal Zone Management Plan was certified by the NSW Minister for Environment in September 2018. This Plan will act as the guiding plan for management of the open (open to ocean swell) coast until 2021, whilst a Coastal Management Plan (CMP) is being prepared.

On 14 February 2019, Councillors and Council staff met with the Lake Conjola Community Association, State Government Agencies including NSW Crown Lands, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, NSW Department of Primary Industries and State Member for the South Coast Hon. Shelley Hancock.

This meeting was to discuss the review of the Interim Lake Conjola Entrance Management Policy and future directions for the management of Lake Conjola. At this meeting it was resolved to apply to the NSW Government Coast and Estuary Program for funds to prepare a Coastal Management Program (CMP), as per the requirements of the NSW Coastal Management Act 2016 and the manual. Read more...


Entrance Management – Crown Land Licence Application to Remove Plug from Pilot Channel

Lake Conjola entrance closed in April 2018, after being open since June 2016. In May water sampling commenced as is traditionally carried out during a lake closure and in accordance with the Entrance Management Policy (EMP). In July, the Conjola Community Association began expressing concerns about the Lake closure and water quality and requested that Council open the Lake.

A short summary of events leading to Council's application for a Crown Land Licence to remove the plug from the pilot channel is provided in an article below. Read more...


Shoalhaven City Council has been working with the Lake Conjola Community Association and the NSW State Government to manage the lake and its entrance, following the closure of the lake in April 2018. Council appreciates that the recent closure of the lake and raised lake levels have been the cause of anxiety for residents and visitors of Lake Conjola.

Council has created this “Get Involved” project page to assist the community in accessing up to date information on the management of the Lake and the entrance. Council will be providing timelines, reports, studies, resolutions and works that Council is undertaking to improve the health of Lake Conjola and manage the flooding risk on this page.

This page provides the following information and functions:


Coastal Management Program (CMP)

The Shoalhaven Coastal Zone Management Plan was certified by the NSW Minister for Environment in September 2018. This Plan will act as the guiding plan for management of the open (open to ocean swell) coast until 2021, whilst a Coastal Management Plan (CMP) is being prepared.

On 14 February 2019, Councillors and Council staff met with the Lake Conjola Community Association, State Government Agencies including NSW Crown Lands, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, NSW Department of Primary Industries and State Member for the South Coast Hon. Shelley Hancock.

This meeting was to discuss the review of the Interim Lake Conjola Entrance Management Policy and future directions for the management of Lake Conjola. At this meeting it was resolved to apply to the NSW Government Coast and Estuary Program for funds to prepare a Coastal Management Program (CMP), as per the requirements of the NSW Coastal Management Act 2016 and the manual. Read more...


Entrance Management – Crown Land Licence Application to Remove Plug from Pilot Channel

Lake Conjola entrance closed in April 2018, after being open since June 2016. In May water sampling commenced as is traditionally carried out during a lake closure and in accordance with the Entrance Management Policy (EMP). In July, the Conjola Community Association began expressing concerns about the Lake closure and water quality and requested that Council open the Lake.

A short summary of events leading to Council's application for a Crown Land Licence to remove the plug from the pilot channel is provided in an article below. Read more...


  • Statement from NSW Department of Primary Industries - Fisheries Concerning Grey Nurse Shark

    18 days ago

    1 August 2019

    The NSW Department of Primary Industries - Fisheries have released the following statement concerning the findings of the necropsy conducted on the Greynurse Shark that was found dead in Lake Conjola on 2 July 2019:

    ‘DPI Fisheries were advised of a dead Greynurse Shark, about 3m long, in Lake Conjola on 2 July 2019. The shark was transported to Port Stephens Fisheries Institute for necropsy. The animal was determined to be about 20% lighter than its expected weight for a Greynurse of that size. It was not possible to provide a precise cause of death for the...

    1 August 2019

    The NSW Department of Primary Industries - Fisheries have released the following statement concerning the findings of the necropsy conducted on the Greynurse Shark that was found dead in Lake Conjola on 2 July 2019:

    ‘DPI Fisheries were advised of a dead Greynurse Shark, about 3m long, in Lake Conjola on 2 July 2019. The shark was transported to Port Stephens Fisheries Institute for necropsy. The animal was determined to be about 20% lighter than its expected weight for a Greynurse of that size. It was not possible to provide a precise cause of death for the shark; hooks were found in the stomach and there was evidence of bacterial infection, both of which may have contributed to the death.’

  • Update for Community - Media Release

    about 1 month ago
    66715342 2411580465530793 9147790228876951552 n

    12 July 2019

    On 16th June 2019 Council commenced works to temporarily open a channel to allow Lake Conjola to drain into the ocean. The specific objectives of the work being to flush the lake, scour sand out of the lake and allow the lake levels to lower by at least 300mm.

    Council worked with local subcontractors and two community representatives Dirk Treloar and Cathy Ardron who volunteered to be inducted onto the worksite and monitor the works from a community perspective.

    This channel has now been open for over 20 days, with significant flushing and lowering to the...

    12 July 2019

    On 16th June 2019 Council commenced works to temporarily open a channel to allow Lake Conjola to drain into the ocean. The specific objectives of the work being to flush the lake, scour sand out of the lake and allow the lake levels to lower by at least 300mm.

    Council worked with local subcontractors and two community representatives Dirk Treloar and Cathy Ardron who volunteered to be inducted onto the worksite and monitor the works from a community perspective.

    This channel has now been open for over 20 days, with significant flushing and lowering to the river resulting. It took four days to open the lake and the ongoing works have been occurring to help maintain the opening.

    During this time there has been over 1500 truck loads (22,600cu.m) of sand excavated and placed at an approved location to the north of the lake.

    Dirk and Cathy said

    “Works to open a channel which has enabled the lake to flush and lower have been very successful with the objective of trying to lower the level of the lake by more that 300mm being well and truly achieved.”

    “We are happy with the way the works were conducted and the level of cooperation and consultation displayed by Council.”

    “Last Friday we met with a number of community representatives and Council staff and it was explained that the excavators would need to leave the site in the next few days. The consensus at the meeting was that works would conclude on Friday 12 July 2019”

    Director Paul Keech said

    “Maintaining the opening with machinery and staff does come at a cost and given the condition of the lake, the environmental forces at play and with the agreement of the community, it has been determined that the time has come for ongoing works to stop.”

    “It is expected that machinery will leave site today and will not return on Monday.”

    “It is expected that the opening will remain in place for a short time but as planned and discussed before any work started, it will eventually close.”

    Chief Executive Officer Stephen Dunshea said

    “It has been important that these works have been undertaken in partnership with community. Council has ensured that the community have been involved in the decision-making processes throughout this period of works and updated regularly throughout the process.”

    “It is very important for Council to continue to work with the community throughout this process and into the future, in partnership “

    “Whilst the works related to the construction of an opening will come to an end, there is a continuing process that will be undertaken with the community to review the Coastal Zone Management Plan and to create a new agreed management policy for the Lake.”

    Updates to the community will continue to be provided on Council’s Lake Conjola Get Involved Page, throughout the process.

  • Community Update for Lake Conjola

    about 2 months ago

    28 June 2019

    Today, Friday 28 June, staff met on site with two nominated community representatives to discuss the ongoing progress of the channel maintenance.

    Shoalhaven City Council's newly appointed CEO, Stephen Dunshea, was also at Lake Conjola today inspecting the lake, channel and surrounds.

    The improvements in the lake and surrounding area are clear and very pleasing to see.

    Please note that workers will not be on site over the weekend but will return on Monday 1July 2019.

    Machinery is expected to remain on site next week. It is expected that Council's Director of Assets and Works, Paul Keech, will attend the site late next week to undertake a further assessment of the channel and also meet with nominated community representatives at this time. Further advice regarding this meeting will be provided to Lake Conjola Community Association once determined.

    Lake Level

    As of 4.37pm Thursday 27 June 2019, the level of Lake Conjola measured at 0.43m AHD, showing the water level in the lake has reduced further this week. The level of the lake was 0.92m AHD prior to the opening of the entrance.

    The following drone footage shows the Lake Conjola entrance opening on 26 June 2019.

    28 June 2019

    Today, Friday 28 June, staff met on site with two nominated community representatives to discuss the ongoing progress of the channel maintenance.

    Shoalhaven City Council's newly appointed CEO, Stephen Dunshea, was also at Lake Conjola today inspecting the lake, channel and surrounds.

    The improvements in the lake and surrounding area are clear and very pleasing to see.

    Please note that workers will not be on site over the weekend but will return on Monday 1July 2019.

    Machinery is expected to remain on site next week. It is expected that Council's Director of Assets and Works, Paul Keech, will attend the site late next week to undertake a further assessment of the channel and also meet with nominated community representatives at this time. Further advice regarding this meeting will be provided to Lake Conjola Community Association once determined.

    Lake Level

    As of 4.37pm Thursday 27 June 2019, the level of Lake Conjola measured at 0.43m AHD, showing the water level in the lake has reduced further this week. The level of the lake was 0.92m AHD prior to the opening of the entrance.

    The following drone footage shows the Lake Conjola entrance opening on 26 June 2019.

  • Funding Provision for Lake Conjola

    about 2 months ago
    28 June 2019

    At Council’s Ordinary Meeting on Tuesday, 25 June 2019 it was resolved that Council would allocate the following funds to Lake Conjola for next financial year:
    • An allocation of $140,000 is provided to match the NSW State Government grant allocation which has been provided to undertake the independent Coastal Zone Management Plan process;
    • A further $143,000 was also allocated and will be assigned to fund works in the channel and maintenance requirements.
    Planning works for the Coastal Zone Management Plan development are being undertaken, with further details to be provided to the community once available.

    28 June 2019

    At Council’s Ordinary Meeting on Tuesday, 25 June 2019 it was resolved that Council would allocate the following funds to Lake Conjola for next financial year:
    • An allocation of $140,000 is provided to match the NSW State Government grant allocation which has been provided to undertake the independent Coastal Zone Management Plan process;
    • A further $143,000 was also allocated and will be assigned to fund works in the channel and maintenance requirements.
    Planning works for the Coastal Zone Management Plan development are being undertaken, with further details to be provided to the community once available.
  • Level of Lake Reduced from 0.92m ADH to 0.51m ADH

    about 2 months ago
    Water levels   25 june 2019

    25 June 2019

    Despite experiencing 37mm of rainfall over the weekend, the level of Lake Conjola has fallen to 0.51m AHD (as of Monday 25 June). The level of the lake was 0.92m AHD prior to the opening of the entrance.

    The water level of the lake is continuing to drop but is also influenced by tidal effect - as illustrated by the peaks and troughs seen on the Water Level Graph.


    25 June 2019

    Despite experiencing 37mm of rainfall over the weekend, the level of Lake Conjola has fallen to 0.51m AHD (as of Monday 25 June). The level of the lake was 0.92m AHD prior to the opening of the entrance.

    The water level of the lake is continuing to drop but is also influenced by tidal effect - as illustrated by the peaks and troughs seen on the Water Level Graph.


  • Drone Footage of the Entrance

    about 2 months ago

    21 June 2019

    The below video provides footage of the Lake Conjola entrance opening capture by drone on Thursday, 20 June 2019.

    21 June 2019

    The below video provides footage of the Lake Conjola entrance opening capture by drone on Thursday, 20 June 2019.

  • Water Testing Results Update

    about 2 months ago
    Water testing results update image 21 june 2019

    21 June 2019

    May Results

    Water sampling results for the weeks of 8, 12, 22 and 29 May 2019 show that the water quality has returned to levels observed prior to the rain event experienced on 23 April 2019.

    The results show that the water quality is excellent with enterococci levels well below the limit of recording in some cases (<1). This means that the water is safe for human contact as per the National Health and Medical Research Guidelines 2008.

    It is interesting to note that nitrogen and phosphorus levels are also decreasing as the weather becomes colder and...

    21 June 2019

    May Results

    Water sampling results for the weeks of 8, 12, 22 and 29 May 2019 show that the water quality has returned to levels observed prior to the rain event experienced on 23 April 2019.

    The results show that the water quality is excellent with enterococci levels well below the limit of recording in some cases (<1). This means that the water is safe for human contact as per the National Health and Medical Research Guidelines 2008.

    It is interesting to note that nitrogen and phosphorus levels are also decreasing as the weather becomes colder and the temperature of the lake drops. It is noted that phosphorus has returned to previous levels and nitrogen is dropping. Chlorophyll a remains at very low levels and bacteria at low levels - indicating that even with slightly higher nitrogen and phosphorus readings, it would not indicate risk of algal blooms or compromise the of water quality in the lake.

    June Results

    6 June – water sampling results for the week of 6 June 2019 show that the water quality is excellent with enterococci levels well below the limit of recording in some cases (<1) although slightly elevated at some locations – possibly due to bird activity.

    However, it is noted that at one site (E-54 – Fishermans Paradise) enterococci and faecal coliforms are elevated at 190cfu/100ml and 850cfu/100mls respectively. It is also noted at this site that nitrogen and phosphorus are elevated. This may be attributed to low flow, increased bacterial activity, bird life and limited flushing of the system.

    The latest results can be viewed on Council’s Aquadata page.

    Article image: Photograph taken towards the site E-53

  • Lake Entrance Open and Flowing

    about 2 months ago

    20 June 2019

    The flow of the pilot channel captured at approximately 4pm on Thursday 20 June 2019.

    20 June 2019

    The flow of the pilot channel captured at approximately 4pm on Thursday 20 June 2019.

  • Lake Entrance Now Open

    2 months ago

    19 June 2019

    Works were completed to open the Lake Conjola entrance this morning, Wednesday 19 June 2019.

    Water is now flowing out.



    19 June 2019

    Works were completed to open the Lake Conjola entrance this morning, Wednesday 19 June 2019.

    Water is now flowing out.



  • Channel Construction Nearing Completion

    2 months ago
    Entrance 18 june 2019
    18 June 2019

    Works are progressing well on the construction of a channel at the entrance of Lake Conjola in accordance with the conditions of the licence.

    The works on the channel are nearing completion to allow an opening of the lake soon.

    Depending on suitable weather conditions, Council is planning to open the lake tomorrow, Wednesday 19 June 2019.

    18 June 2019

    Works are progressing well on the construction of a channel at the entrance of Lake Conjola in accordance with the conditions of the licence.

    The works on the channel are nearing completion to allow an opening of the lake soon.

    Depending on suitable weather conditions, Council is planning to open the lake tomorrow, Wednesday 19 June 2019.