Environment SA News

$10 million to improve waterbird habitat in the Coorong

The Commonwealth and South Australian governments are investing $10 million to improve the quality and availability of waterbird habitat throughout the Ramsar-listed Coorong and Lower Lakes.

Waders at the Tolderol Game Reserve Wetland (Photo: Colin Rogers)
Waders at the Tolderol Game Reserve Wetland. (Photo courtesy of Colin Rogers)

Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin’s On-Ground Works project aims to improve the availability and quality of habitat for migratory and non-migratory shorebirds at priority wetlands in the Lower Lakes.

Manager Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin Angus MacGregor said to maintain and improve the health of this iconic site, it is critical that these interventions are made to improve food availability across key wetlands.

“By working to increase the availability of shallow wading habitats, this project will provide jobs and support greater numbers of shorebirds by providing important refuge habitat for species that would otherwise use the Coorong South Lagoon,” Angus said.

Small-scale wetland management infrastructure will be constructed at three priority wetland sites at Tolderol, Waltowa and Teringie with regulators, pumps, pipes and earth works put in place to manage water levels to improve the extent, quality and duration of inundation.

Angus said the project will provide foraging habitats for seven target waterbird species, including the common greenshank, curlew sandpiper, sharp-tailed sandpiper and red-capped plover.

“Once the infrastructure is in place there will be a significant increase of shorebird habitat of similar type to the Coorong South Lagoon,” Angus said.

“Upon completion, we expect this will provide more than 260 hectares of high-quality habitat with carrying capacity for more than 15,000 of the seven target species.”

The project is part of SA’s Project Coorong initiative, which is taking action to restore the health, vitality and visitor experience of the Coorong through environmental projects to get the Coorong back on track and initiatives to boost eco-tourism.

The Regional Bird Refugia Project is widely supported by the community who agree that wetland management or restoration in the Coorong region is a priority.

Construction is expected to commence later next year.

This project is part of the South Australian Government’s Healthy Coorong, Healthy BasinProgram, which is funded by the Australian and South Australian governments.