Mapping seagrass, mangrove and saltmarsh

a multi-layered diagram to show multispectral mapping

Mangrove and saltmarsh habitats photographed from a drone showing standard imagery, multispectral imagery and habitats mapped using artificial intelligence techniques.


Seagrass, mangrove and saltmarsh are important habitats in estuaries for a wide variety of animals and plants including species caught or collected by recreational and commercial fishers. These estuarine habitats are under threat from a range of disturbances including coastal development and pollution.  Monitoring these areas is essential to identify impacts and to help with management decisions.

This project maps the changes in the area of estuarine habitats and the locations of impacts to these habitats.  It uses new artificial intelligence techniques to identify species from aerial pictures and to assess the condition of some habitats.

Specialised images (multispectral) are taken by drones or satellites to identify different species of vegetation and estimate habitat condition.

Disturbances to estuarine habitats that are being mapped in certain estuaries include:

  • jetties and pontoons
  • boat moorings
  • 4WD damage to saltmarshes
  • bushfires

Lead agency

Department of Primary Industries - Fisheries (DPI-F)



Recent maps of estuarine habitats: Pittwater, Port Jackson, Lake Illawarra, Minnamurra River, Lake Conjola, Burrill Lake, Wagonga Inlet

Habitat maps due in 2020: Botany Bay, Jervis Bay, St. Georges Basin, Hasting River

Determining different species and condition assessments: Port Stephens, Tilba Tilba Lake

More information

Habitat maps are available on the DPI Fisheries Spatial Data Portal


To find out more, contact:
Tim Glasby
Greg West

Page last updated/reviewed: 19 Jun 2020