KWRP covers 1590 hectares on three sites in the Hunter River estuary adjacent to a major port and industrial complex as well as a large urban area (Newcastle) in New South Wales. It is one of the largest active coastal rehabilitation projects in Australia. KWRP was initiated in 1993 to compensate for the loss of fish, shorebird and other wildlife habitat in the Hunter estuary caused by 200 years of draining, filling and clearing.
Despite habitat losses, Kooragang Wetlands remains a biodiversity "hot spot" with 27 threatened species and one threatened community, over 180 species of birds including 24 migratory species, 42 species of fish and crustaceans, 15 species of frog, 10 species of bat and over 300 species of indigenous plants.
The wetlands are internationally recognized, being part of the Ramsar-listed Hunter Estuary Wetlands and home to species protected under JAMBA/CAMBA. Kooragang also has a special sister wetland relationship with Kushiro Wetlands in Japan.
The wetlands feature expanses of mangrove and saltmarsh, and in non-tidal areas, riparian woodlands, remnants of lowland floodplain rainforest and ephemeral, freshwater wetlands.