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  • Writer's pictureSimon & Lorraine Freeden

First cruise up the beautiful Bruns after record floods

Updated: Mar 17, 2022

Both Rob and I, Simon, had mixed emotions about seeing the river after the massive floods. We knew about the major impact on the community, but what about the river?

How much damage would there be? Being a little older we both knew that it could be bad, so we prepare ourselves. I have been watching the river from various viewing places during the flood but only around Brunswick Heads and knew there was not as much debris floating down the river as I thought there could be. I think this may be related to the Brunswick River being a short river compared to its big neighbours the Tweed and Richmond Rivers, which are massive, and drain a huge area of mainly cleared farmland with little river bank vegetation.

Living in a time of climate change, we're hyper aware that we're incredibly lucky that our home in Ocean Shores, and our boats at the Brunswick Boat Harbour, didn't flood or sustain any damage. We were dreading it, not feeling good about it, but WOW we came through unscathed.

Fact: The Brunswick River Riparian Zone (riverbank vegetation) is mostly intact and this has helped hold the river banks together and in turn makes for fairly stable navigation channels.

What has happened to the riverbanks and the navigation channels?

Not much has changed, the navigation channels seems to be where they have been for many years.

How many precious trees are lost?

Sadly about 5 big trees, with one tree dragging a big chuck of soil and other plants with it. Trees that have suffered from undercutting erosion are looking worse, which you would expect of course, considering the crazily high river levels.

How much Rubbish?

We saw very little rubbish considering the size of the flood. It was fairly clean before the flood and thanks to the folks upriver there doesn’t seem to be much. 2 big garbage bins, bits of plastic caught in the trees is about all we saw.

How is the wildlife and marine life?

We saw the white belly sea eagles in each territory, a pair of Brahminy Kites, migratory & resident shore birds. No pelicans which is unusual.

Yesterday, in the harbour, I saw some Mullet schooling up or thinking about it. It was only December 2020 that we wrote this article about those floods, and Simon was interviewed on ABC TV 24. You can watch that here. Interesting to see that what we thought back then was HUGE, yet what came in 2022 is extraordinary!

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