The Coorong, Lakes Alexandrina and Albert and Murray Mouth region is about 142,500 hectares in size and has a diverse range of freshwater, estuarine and marine habitats. The native plants and animals are unique, not just within the Murray-Darling Basin, but worldwide.
The Coorong is a freshwater lagoon that overlooks the Southern Ocean and stretches around 200 kilometres from Goowla to Kingston in the south-east of South Australia. There is a Coorong North Lagoon and Coorong South Lagoon.
Lakes Alexandrina and Albert are often referred to as the Lower Lakes. The River Murray flows directly into Lake Alexandrina and then via a narrow channel to Lake Albert. Lake Alexandrina is separated from the Coorong via a series of barrages.
The Murray Mouth is the point where the River Murray meets the Southern Ocean, and is located south-east of Goolwa. The mouth is an opening in the coastline which separates the river system from the ocean.
The region is the only point of entry and exit for fish that move between freshwater and marine habitats, and is the only pathway to export salt from the Murray-Darling Basin.
The nearly 28,000 people who live in the area mainly work in agriculture, viticulture, fishing, manufacturing and tourism. Aboriginal people, such as the Ngarrindjeri, have a strong spiritual and cultural connection to the land and are the Traditional Owners.
The Coorong is a national treasure.
The Coorong is recognised under the Ramsar Convention as part of the Coorong and Lakes Alexandrina and Albert Ramsar wetland of international significance, supporting endangered migratory birds from across the world, threatened wildlife and rare plants.
It is also widely regarded as the most important waterbird wetland in the Murray-Darling Basin and breeding area for the iconic Australian pelican.
Kurangk is the name given to the area by the Ngarrindjeri people, meaning long narrow neck. The Coorong is of enormous cultural significance to the Ngarrindjeri.
A section of the Coorong was established a national park in 1966. Coorong National Park offers a range of activities for nature and adventure lovers alike, including camping on the edge of the wild Southern Ocean, kayaking, exploring sand dunes, birdwatching, fishing and 4x4 driving.
The Coorong National Park is also ‘Storm Boy Country’ and features in the classic movie Storm Boy.
It’s vital that this important wetland, culturally significant area and beautiful tourist destination is looked after for future generations to enjoy.
The Coorong’s environment has shown positive signs of recovery following the devastating impacts of the Millennium Drought and years of basin-wide over water allocation, but more work is needed to restore a healthy Coorong, in particular the South Lagoon.
The South Australian Government is working with the community, Traditional Owners, scientists, the Australian Government and basin states to build on previous work to restore a healthy Coorong for the future.
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