Wilson Inlet


Ocean openingSeasonally open (artificial)
Estuary surface area48 km²
Catchment area2300 km²
Catchment: estuary ratio48
Mean annual rainfall~765 mm/yr
Mean annual discharge157 GL/year
Catchment cleared60%


Population growth rate2.4% pa
People per estuary area48
Shipping tradenone
Commercial fishing~12 licences
Recreation/tourismBoating, fishing, bird watching

The scenic Wilson Inlet is known for its natural beauty, diverse birdlife and opportunities for recreational activities, such as fishing and boating.

Concerns about water levels and nutrients entering Wilson Inlet in the 1990s led to a targeted action plan and strategies for opening the sandbar. Reduced river flows, a drying climate and seasonal changes mean that the existing sandbar opening strategy and catchment management actions need updating.

$2 million will be spent to understand and improve condition of the Wilson Inlet, Denmark and Hay catchments during the Regional Estuaries Initiative. This funding will be supported by co-investments from regional catchment groups.

For Wilson Inlet, the Regional Estuaries Initiative will:

  • Support the Wilson Inlet Catchment Committee in the joint delivery of on-ground action and long term management strategies to care for Wilson Inlet
  • In partnership with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, farmers and local groups, reduce the nutrient runoff from farms while supporting farm productivity
  • Work with local groups to restore stream function, move stock away from waterways and improve water quality by implementing river action plans
  • Undertake modelling to evaluate estuary management actions and fund ongoing monitoring of the Wilson Inlet and its catchments. This will provide the information necessary to develop a new bar opening protocol and support improved catchment management.