Wetlands are one of our most important natural assets, yet South Australia has already lost 70 percent of them. How we conserve, manage and restore our remaining wetlands is an important natural resource management issue for the state.
In South Australia, wetlands include:
- ephemeral and permanent lakes and watercourses
- swamps and marshes
- freshwater springs
- mudflats and mangroves
- estuaries and near-shore environments including seagrass meadows and tidal systems.
Among their many functions wetlands:
- help improve water quality by retaining nutrients, sediments, and pollutants
- reduce the impact of storms, floods and droughts
- support diverse collections of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrate species
- support significant fish and crustacean nurseries
- help stabilise the shoreline and control erosion
- help groundwater recharge (the movement of water from the wetland down into the underground aquifer) and groundwater discharge (the movement of water upward to become surface water in a wetland)
- provide natural long-term storage of carbon
- help stabilise the local climate conditions, particularly rainfall and temperature.