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Topics > Coasts

St Kilda mangroves

The Dry Creek salt field in the vicinity of the St Kilda mangroves is a complex 30 kilometre, 4000 hectare site which encompasses the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary and the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary.

This area provides important feeding and roosting habitat for migratory and resident shorebirds, is recognised as a wetland of national significance and is part of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Site.

It contains Temperate Saltmarsh, which is listed as a threatened ecological community under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The salt field areas to the south also form part of the Barker Inlet-St Kilda Aquatic Reserve.

The South Australian Government shares the community’s concern about the vegetation dieback at St Kilda in the vicinity of the Dry Creek salt field.

Scientific reports on vegetation dieback

The Department for Environment and Water (DEW) has developed a mapping methodology to measure the extent and composition of native vegetation impacted in the St Kilda dieback event of late 2020.

Approximately 9 hectares of mangrove; 10 hectares of saltmarsh; and nearly 5 hectares of bare, sparsely vegetated, or aquatic ecosystems within the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary National Park – Winaityinaityi Pangkara (AIBS) at St Kilda have been impacted.

See the Vegetation dieback extent and composition map to view the March 2021 mapping.

There is high confidence that no major areas of dead vegetation occur outside this mapping.

In Spring of 2021, new mapping was undertaken which determined there has been no significant expansion of previous dieback areas, and no appearance of new dieback areas.

Further information can be accessed in the scientific reports and online data viewer:

DEW used a variety of mapping techniques and datasets to measure the extent of dieback. The Dry Creek salt fields Online Data Viewer lets users pan, zoom and compare the datasets compiled and used in the analyses.

Stakeholder workshops in 2021

DEW and Salisbury Council have held stakeholder workshops with attendees from state and local government, the local community and academia to discuss and develop plans for the restoration of the areas impacted around St Kilda.

In the most recent workshop in March 2021, DEW and City of Salisbury brought together key researchers and community members to discuss the restoration of areas impacted at St Kilda and the Little Para River (outside the Salt Fields). The outcomes from this workshop will form the basis of an action plan for the impacted areas. Download the workshop summary.

A small working group of DEW, Salisbury Council and Community has been established to further develop the Action Plan, seek resources to implement it and work closely with other stakeholders in the delivery of actions.

Further information

Experts from the Department for Energy and Mining (DEM), DEW, the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and the University of Adelaide, along with external consultants, are collaborating to:

  • stop further impact
  • promote conditions for recovery of the affected areas
  • establish long-term environmental stability for the mangrove and wider ecosystem.

DEM is the lead regulator and regulates the salt fields site under the Mining Act 1971. The DEM website has up-to-date information on the current activities underway.