A tiny sea creature could hold the key to securing funding to repair safety netting at the Little Street Baths in Forster.
While the netting for the Little Street Baths in Forster is not in the best condition, there is a good reason, according to a MidCoast Council spokesperson.
"Undertaking any work on the netting at the baths is a sensitive operation, as Wallis Lake is home to White's seahorse, which is a protected species.
"Any work to the enclosure requires permits and approvals through NSW Fisheries, due to the sensitive habitat it provides."
Named after First Fleet surgeon general, John White, White's seahorse is one of four species of seahorse endemic to NSW waters.
Known to breed in Wallis Lake, the seahorse grows to a maximum length of 16cm (from the tip of the tail to the top of the seahorse crown), and it changes its colour depending on mood and habitat.
Males carry eggs in a brood pouch before giving birth to live young.
Council is in the process of seeking these approvals to allow maintenance of the popular swimming enclosure.
At the same time council is also awaiting the outcome of an application submitted through the Roads and Maritime Service's (RMS) Better Boating Now funding for the upgrade of the whole facility.
If council is successful gaining government funding both the netting and pontoon will be replaced.
"The netting is cleaned and replaced - if required - every two years.
"Remedial repairs were carried out in November last year after a failure in the netting, and this led to the application we are currently awaiting news on."
Funding for the Little Street baths is one of three shortlisted projects for the Better Boating Now grant.
It is expected this will be announced later in the year.