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ICOLL management

Published 26 June 2024 Developing an approval framework to support entrance management for intermittently closed and open lakes and lagoons (ICOLL).
content image Lake Curalo – Bega Valley Shire ( Photo credit: Garry Hunter)


Why is this project important?

Intermittently Closed and Opening Lakes and Lagoons (ICOLLs) is a term applied to estuaries where the entrance to the ocean can open and close intermittently due to the formation and breakdown of an entrance sand barrier.

There are more than 160 ICOLLS along the NSW coastline.

Approximately 50% of ICOLL’s in NSW are manually opened to allow waters trapped behind the barrier to be released.

There is increasing attention being given to the way ICOLLs are managed, the values of ICOLLs, and the implications of artificial management on those values.

There is recognition that entrance manipulation can cause a range of unintended negative impacts and costs, which must be weighed against the real and perceived benefits of intervention.

What are we doing?

The project aims to improve the collective understanding of how ICOLL entrance interventions, approvals, conditions and compliance are managed across NSW.

The project will assess past decisions and activities and develop a streamlined and consistent interagency (Department of Planning, Housing and Infrastructure - Crown Lands, NSW Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water, DPIRD - Fisheries) approval and licencing pathway for both the preparation of Entrance Management Plans and one-off opening events.

What have we achieved so far?

  • 114 systems have been assessed up and down the NSW coast with detailed audits completed on 47 systems.
  • A report into the findings from the audit is in preparation. The report outcomes will inform the future directions of the project.

Quote from project lead

“The information gathered through the audit process is providing an excellent understanding of the different ways in which systems are currently being managed and informing future guidance.”



Local government areas - Statewide

Lead agency

DPIRD Fisheries


  • Department of Planning, Housing and Infrastructure - Crown Lands
  • NSW Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (NSW DCCEEW)
  • Department of Planning, Housing and Infrastructure - Planning
  • Coastal Councils

More information

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