Tin Can Inlet Rehabilitation

 Since the floods of 2022, this project has been put on hold due to the severe impact on the seagrass. 

Cooloola Coastcare is part of a group of organisations led by the Queensland Department of Environment and Science  that are investigating and reporting on the extent of damage and the next steps for rehabilitation especially understanding and  mitigating the impacts on vulnerable, threatened and endangered species such as dugongs, green and loggerhead turtles. 




Seagrass Sled in action underwater

Can you help us with this underwater survey?

We need volunteers with a boat and time to tow our seagrass sled and make recordings of the seafloor over the next 3 months. 

Contact: Lindy Orwin



Fishing History of Tin Can Inlet

Collection of stories & scanning of historical photos at

Tin Can Bay Markets

Rainbow Beach Markets

and in the library and online.

Contact: Lindy Orwin


Seagrass sled ready for testing

Testing the seagrass sled in the pool

Our underwater drone will be used to map biodiversity and seagrass.


Seagrass Sled Deployment

Training completed

21 and 22 June 2021

Trainer: Dr James Udy

Vessel: Wolf Rock Dive boat

Tin Can Inlet Location & Significance

Tin Can Inlet is part of the larger Tin Can Bay which is located on the Cooloola Coast of Queensland adjacent to the towns of Tin Can Bay, Cooloola Cove and Rainbow Beach.  It is part of 

Habitat Values

Tin Can Inlet has extensive inshore seagrass meadows and intertidal flats. The upper inlet contains brackish waters associated with wallum heath. There are extensive mangrove zones and saltmarsh along estuary with Avicennia, Ceriops and Aegialitis recorded and it is the southern distributional limit of mangrove species Aegialitis annulata, Xylocarpus granatum and Osbornia octodonta. Mosaics of mangrove, seagrass and coral reefs provide habitat for high diversity of fish. The Inlet is the habitat for dugong; coral reefs in the area support scribbled angelfish Chaetodontoplus duboulayi and Müllers butterflyfish Chelmon mulleri at the southern end of their range; and areas of hard and soft coral. (Source Queensland Department of Environment and Science 2021).

The mooring problem

Underwater research conducted by Cooloola Coastcare in 2017 -18 and 19 indicates that Tin Can Inlet is at crisis point for biodiversity loss and sediment impact.  Evidence shows that the block and tackle moorings and sediment runoff are contributing factors.  Without a concerted effort on multiple fronts including mooring replacement with seagrass friendly alternatives and weed and erosion control on the foreshore, Tin Can Inlet risks habitat collapse which will further impact the ecosystem and the tourism and fishing industries that rely on the Inlet . This could impact land values in the future and affects quality of life of the residents and enjoyment of the area by visitors.

What can Cooloola Coastcare do?

The overall aim is to engage the stakeholders and government organisations with jurisdiction over Tin Can Inlet, the moorings and the surrounding areas to develop a 10 year plan to rehabilitate Tin Can Inlet to a healthy ecosystem with thriving marine life and a healthy natural foreshore for the enjoyment of local residents and visitors as well as the sustainable use by commercial entities that make their living in the area. Through 'Collective Impact' we can all work towards a future in which Tin Can Inlet is a healthy, thriving ecosystem capable of sustainable use for pleasure and commerce. 

Part of a bigger picture

Sustainable Development Goal 14 of the United Nations aims to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”. Achieving this goal will require rebuilding the marine life-support systems that deliver the many benefits that society receives from a healthy ocean. 

Some species of marine turtle and all dugongs depend on seagrass for food. Many marine creatures that don't eat seagrass depend on the habitat it creates for their food. 

The Timeline

Background Research 

2017 - 2018 Cooloola Underwater Biodiversity Assessment

2018 - 2019 Cooloola Sediment Investigation

Tin Can Inlet Rehabilitation Planning

 2019 - 2020 Stage 1: Creating a plan for replacing the moorings with Environmentally Friendly Moorings (EFM) under the  scientific guidance of Healthy Land and Water. (Completed)

2021 Stage 2: Identifying the most suitable first mooring field for replacement and raising awareness of mooring owners and the community.

2022 and beyond: Tin Can Inlet Rehabilitation - Mooring Replacement discussions with Marine Parks and Maritime Safety Queensland (who manage the moorings). 

What's next? 

2023 Collaborate with research scientists and Marine Parks to develop a plan for the next stage to progress with the aim of increasing biodiversity, improving water quality and improving seagrass coverage. 

How can you help?

Join Cooloola Coastcare and volunteer.

Actively participate in community forums and consultation processes.

Become a Citizen Scientist and help us with Water Quality Monitoring through WaterWatch and volunteer your boat or your time to conduct our 2021 Seagrass Survey by boat using our seagrass sled during May - July 2021.

Contact us with info about your organisation, it's role in the use or protection of Tin Can Inlet and join us in our mission to improve this ecosystem. 

Donate to our work, sponsor us or help us seek grant funding. 

Send us digital copies of photos of Tin Can Inlet in the past that show seagrass, mangroves, the history of the Inlet and the nature that lives there.

Adapt your practices to be more sustainable

Become part of the solution. 

More Information...

Reports and Plans

Healthy Land and Water Report - Tin Can Bay Inlet Pre-feasability Environmentally Friendly Moorings (June 2020)

Plan to replace moorings in Tin Can Inlet.*

Tin Can Bay - All moorings map

*NOTE: Due to the floods, this plan for the moorings has been put on hold due to the decimation of seagrass across the entire region's waterways.

Meet the Locals

Species identified in the 2018 - 2019 Research Dives

Ascidians  (10 species)

(Sea squirts)



(Crabs, lobsters, crayfish, shrimps, prawns and barnacles)


(Starfish, brittle stars, sea cucumbers, sea urchins, sand dollars, and crinoids)

Marine Turtles


Sand dwellers

Sea Snake


Structure Dwellers

Target fishing species

Related Research

Cooloola Sediment Investigation

Diving creeks to discover sources of sediment in Tin Can Inlet

Funded by Gympie Regional Council 

Environment Levy

Completed June 2019

Moorings Investigation

Diving Tin Can Inlet moorings to discover sources of sediment in Tin Can Inlet

Funded by Gympie Regional Council 

Environment Levy

Completed June 2019

Communities of Practice

Supported by

Environment Levy Grants

2017, 2019, 2020, 2021

Grant 2018