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Restoring wetland habitat at Teringie Wetlands

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As part of the Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin On Ground Works project, the Department for Environment and Water is restoring wetland habitat at the Teringie Wetlands. Construction of new infrastructure to improve water management and restore habitat is due to take place throughout 2024.

Restoring wetland habitat at Teringie Wetlands
Teringie Wetlands (credit: Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board)

Teringie Wetlands

The Teringie Wetlands are located 10 km north of the Coorong, directly adjacent the Ramsar boundary, on a culturally significant floodplain on the eastern shore of Lake Alexandrina. They are 2 km from of the township of Raukkan, a First Nations community.

The Teringie Wetlands provide an important habitat mosaic including shallow water and mudflat; critical habitat for foraging shorebirds that support bird communities across the Coorong and Lower Lakes region.

Two red-necked stints forage in shallow water in a wetland
Red-necked stints at the Coorong (credit: Tom Hunt)

What is happening

Construction of new infrastructure to improve wetland management at the Teringie Wetlands is scheduled to begin in 2024. The proposed on-ground works at Teringie aim to install two flow regulating structures in order to improve water level management and wetting and drying regimes in the wetland complex.

The installation of 2 flow regulators, the first at the inlet between the north basin and Lake Alexandrina, and the second between the north and east basins, will provide greater control over water level management, to mimic more natural (pre-river regulation) conditions, including instituting a drying cycle.

Why are these works important?

The On Ground Works project will provide critical shorebird habitat for key species at risk in the Coorong south lagoon, creating an additional 18 hectares (82% increase) of available managed habitat at Teringie Wetlands. The improvements in bird habitat and wetland management will also provide complementary benefits to the overall ecological health of the lower Murray.

The installation of a flow regulators will enable the implementation of a drying cycle, which has the added benefits of:

  • Improving water level management to support particular shorebird habitats
  • Consolidating wetland bed sediments to reduce wetland turbidity and improve aquatic vegetation growth, in turn providing food sources for a variety of waterbirds
  • Reducing negative impacts of pest plants and animals, such as common carp, which are widespread in the north basin

The wetland complex is made up of three large basins; north, east and south. While these basins were historically connected, they rarely connect now due to flow barriers such as access tracks and less variable lake levels. Infrequent inundation, groundwater salinity, pest plant invasion and a loss of biodiversity, have caused the wetlands to become degraded over time.

Enhancing connectivity between the basins and reinstating flow paths is considered a fundamental step in the wetlands' restoration.

Cultural values of Teringie

The Ngarrindjeri has identified that the Teringie Wetlands have significant cultural and ecological value and have expressed support for those interventions that have minimal ground disturbance activities and improve the health of the Ngarrindjeri’s lands and waters.

The Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board Wetland Program has worked with the Raukkan Community for more than a decade to manage the wetland complex. The On Ground Works project aims to foster Teringie Wetlands to become a best-practice example of Indigenous wetland management, incorporating Indigenous knowledge, practices, objectives and visions.

Restoring wetland habitat at Teringie Wetlands
Waterbird monitoring at Teringie Wetlands (credit: Murrayland and Riverland Landscape Board)

Project updates

Access to the wetlands will be restricted during construction. Further information will be provided closer to construction commencement.

For further information please subscribe to receive project updates or contact projectcoorong@sa.gov.au.

Read more about our related priorities

Murray darling basin
Basin Plan
Irrigation
Water security
River murray irrigators
Water allocation