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.

Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin Action Plan

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 Report and the Goyder Expert Panel Report.

Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin Partnerships

Throughout 2019, the development of the Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin program was supported by the establishment of community, First Nations and scientific partnerships.

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 long-term management solutions and more effective delivery of water to this iconic site.

Desired state of the Southern Coorong

In early 2020, leading scientists and environmental managers came together to build a shared understanding of the existing and emerging scientific knowledge of the Southern Coorong.

Following these discussions, and drawing on various scientific reports, the document, “Desired state of the Southern Coorong discussion paper” was produced.

The discussion paper provides an up-to-date, shared understanding of the current state of the Southern Coorong, explains what might happen if we ‘do-nothing’, presents an overview of the ‘desired state’, and provides guiding principles on how to achieve the desired state.

It serves as useful introduction and rationale for the long-term management options that are being explored through Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin. The discussion paper will be updated in late 2021 and again in 2022.

Projects approved for Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin

Projects approved under Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin include:

On-Ground Works

Implementation of short to medium term on-ground works to support key Coorong biota (species) while long-term management solutions are investigated and implemented.

Localised wetland improvement projects have been prioritised, to enhance their role as regional refuges for waterbirds.

Read more about the On-Ground Works project.

Scientific Trials and Investigations

This will be the biggest individual investment for scientific trials and investigations for the Coorong region, in excess of $10 million.

This investment will 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
  • incorporate cultural knowledge and values of the First Nations into decision-making.

Read more about the Trials & Investigations project.

Water Resource Optimisation

The Water Resource Optimisation project aims to improve the delivery of water to the Coorong through sophisticated forecasting and modelling tools.

These tools will allow site operators to effectively plan and manage the use of water for environmental purposes and ensure that water the water available if used in an efficient manner.

Read more about the Water Resource Optimisation project.

Coorong Infrastructure Investigations

The Coorong Infrastructure Investigations project will involve 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.

Read more about the Coorong Infrastructure Investigations project.

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 the Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin program.

Read more about the First Nations Partnership project.

Community Partnerships

Community involvement in shaping, developing and implementing the Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin Action Plan is critical to its success.

The Community Partnerships project will support all project engagement activities by providing best practice community engagement advice, which will help achieve better environmental outcomes for the Coorong.

Read more about the Community Partnerships project.

More ways to get involved

Read more about our related priorities