2015 Coorong and Lakes Environment Forum
On 30 January 2015, DEWNR, together with the Lakes Hub and Alexandrina Council, hosted the Coorong and Lower Lakes Environment Forum to celebrate World Wetlands Day .
World Wetlands Day is an annual event, held on 2 February, in celebration of the adoption of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance. Each year World Wetlands Day promotes a different theme to raise awareness of the importance of wetland health. The theme for this year was Wetlands for Our Future.
The Coorong and Lakes Alexandrina and Albert is one of South Australia’s largest and iconic Ramsar wetlands situated at the end of the Murray Darling system. Its condition following the Millennium drought and return of inflows is being closely monitored through the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth (CLLMM) Recovery Project and The Living Murray (TLM) initiative. It was this monitoring and the management of the site that was the focus of the day.
The main objectives of the Environment Forum were:
- Build an understanding of how management decisions are supported by monitoring and research
- Encourage face-to-face contact between monitoring and research service providers and the community
- Raise awareness of the Coorong and Lower Lakes wetland and its 30th anniversary since designation as a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance
- Promote community involvement in natural resource management of wetlands
- Raise awareness of Government investment in the site since 2008.
The Environment Forum was structured around six themes. Each theme contained presentations and a panel discussion for questions raised by the audience.
The Big Picture
Waterbird, Water Plants and Water Critters
Water Quality and Acid Sulfate Soils
2011 Monitoring Forum
In August 2011, government, scientists and community organisations came together at the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth Monitoring Forum to discuss environmental monitoring data collected during the previous 12 months, after the return of freshwater flows to the region.
Presentations were delivered on water quality, acid sulfate soils, fish, birds, frogs, plants, zooplankton and macroinvertebrates, and highlighted the importance of collaboration between researchers and government departments.
Monitoring results showed that although some species have responded positively to the high flows, such as certain fish in the Coorong and southern bell frogs in the Lower Lakes, many species are only just starting to recover. These include invertebrates and aquatic vegetation. Some species have even declined over the last year, including migratory waders and threatened freshwater fish.
The most important issues discussed included:
- the timing of delivering water to the Coorong
- the need for long-term data to determine trends and responses
- the need to effectively share information between organisations.
The Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth Monitoring Showcase was organised by the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, the agency responsible for ecological monitoring in the region.
The event was funded by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s The Living Murray initiative and Coorong and Lower Lakes Recovery.
- Acid Sulfate Soils – Andrew Baker, CSIRO
- Aquatic Vegetation – Jason Nicol, SARDI
- Benthic Macroinvertebrates – Sabine Dittmann, Flinders University
- Community Monitoring – Regina Durbridge, Goolwa to Wellington Local Action Planning Assoc.
- Coorong Fish – Qifeng Ye, SARDI
- Coorong Water Quality – Kane Aldridge, Adelaide University
- Fish Movement and Recruitment – Chris Bice, SARDI
- Lower Lakes Water Quality – Luke Mosley, EPA
- Southern Bell Frog – Kate Mason, SA Murray-Darling Basin NRM
- Synthesising biotic assemblages – Ben Hamilton & Rebecca Lester, Flinders University
- Threatened Fish Response to Flows – Scotte Wedderburn, Adelaide University
- Threatened Native Fish Conservation – Arkellah Hall, DENR
- Waterbird Response to Flows – David Paton, Adelaide University
- Zooplankton – Russ Sheil, Adelaide University