Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin

Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin is a $70 million commitment to restore a healthy Coorong, announced by the Australian and South Australian governments in December 2018.

Part of the South Australian Government’s overarching Project Coorong initiative, the Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin Action Plan outlines possible on-ground works, management tools, research, trials and investigations, and other activities between 2019 and 2024 to get the Coorong back on track for a healthy future.

The Action Plan presents a working vision to help restore the Coorong’s health, characterised by healthy vegetation with abundant and diverse populations of waterbirds, fish and plants.

The Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin Action Plan was informed by the Coorong Summit Summary Reportand the Goyder Expert Panel Report.

Throughout 2019, community, First Nations and scientific partnerships were established to support the development the Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin program. The activities from this establishment year are highlighted in the first Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin community update. In February 2020, the next phase of Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin funding was announced to deliver key works including detailed feasibility assessments and scientific investigations which will lead to longer-term management solutions and more effective delivery of water.

Projects approved under Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin include:

On-Ground Works

Feasibility assessments and fast-tracked implementation of on-ground works to support key Coorong biota (species) in the short to medium term while long-term management solutions are investigated and implemented.

  • Localised wetland improvement projects will be prioritised, in partnership with the community, to enhance their role as regional refuges for waterbirds.
  • Aquatic plant restoration and algae management options will be investigated to help restore the balance of the Coorong. 

Scientific Trials and Investigations

The largest individual investment ever for scientific trials and investigations for the Coorong region, in excess of $10 million, to be delivered in partnership with the Goyder Institute for Water Research, to address scientific knowledge gaps and provide the scientific evidence-base to inform what management actions might be required to:

  • reduce nutrient loads (levels) and algae abundance in the Coorong;
  • switch the South Lagoon back to an aquatic plant dominated system rather than an algal dominated system;
  • provide the food resources that are required to support waterbirds and fish populations;
  • increase the abundance and distribution of waterbird populations at local and regional scales within the Coorong;
  • identify the adaptation pathways that are required to ensure that the ecological values of the Coorong are maintained into the future under a changing climate; and
  • incorporate cultural knowledge and values of the First Nations into decision-making.

Water Resource Optimisation

Expansion to the existing Coorong water quality monitoring network, coupled with an extensive water quality monitoring program and the development of a Coorong automated forecasting system and online data interface, to improve the provision of monitoring information, and the effectiveness, timeliness and efficiency of water operations and environmental water decisions.

Coorong Infrastructure Investigations

Broad community consultations and technical feasibility investigations to assess the environmental, social, cultural and economic benefits and impacts of long-term management solutions to improve the health of the Coorong. Implementation of the long-term management options deemed feasible will be delivered in the next phase of funding through to 2024.

First Nations Partnerships

Building capacity and opportunity for the Ngarrindjeri and First Nations of the South East to be involved in the development and implementation of HCHB.

Community Partnerships

Inclusive community partnerships and consultations, and the establishment of a new citizen science program.

More ways to get involved

Read more about our related priorities