A posteriori evaluation of strategies of management

the effectiveness of no-wash zones in minimizing the impacts of boat-wash on macrobenthic infauna

Melanie J. Bishop*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)


Wind-driven waves are important in structuring intertidal and shallow subtidal assemblages of macrobenthic infauna. In the sheltered waters of estuaries, boat-generated waves (wash) may play a similar role because they are typically of a similar amplitude or larger than wind-driven waves. However, few studies have attempted to determine the role of wash in structuring assemblages. Consequently, strategies for managing boating focus around minimization of bank erosion. Along the Parramatta River (Sydney, Australia), no-wash zones have been established and mangroves planted to minimize the erosion of riverbanks and collapse of seawalls purportedly caused by 35-m-long RiverCat ferries. Although intended to also reduce the ecological impacts of wash, it is unclear whether these strategies achieve this goal. Unvegetated and vegetated (among the pneumatophores of man-groves) sediments were sampled in wash and no-wash zones along the Parramatta River to assess the effectiveness of no-wash zones and vegetation of river banks in reducing the ecological impacts of wash. Specifically, it was hypothesized that (1) assemblages of intertidal macro-benthic infauna would differ between wash and no-wash zones of the Parramatta River and (2) these differences would be greater in unvegetated than in vegetated habitat. As predicted, assemblages of macrobenthic infauna differed between the wash and no-wash zones. Capitellids, nereids, and spionids were more abundant in the no-wash zone. Contrary to the hypothesis, differences were no greater in the unvegetated habitat than in the vegetated habitat. The results suggest an impact of wash on assemblages of macrobenthic infauana and a role for no-wash zones in minimizing the effects of this disturbance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-149
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Boating
  • Disturbance
  • Mangroves
  • No-wash zone
  • Waves

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