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The impacts of prolonged drought and water over-allocation across the Murray-Darling Basin left the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth (CLLMM) region on the brink of environmental collapse.

The site is a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance and is the final leg of Australia’s iconic River Murray.

Since late 2010, high flows of freshwater have returned and the region is showing signs of recovery, but we still have more to do.

Why we’ve taken action

There have been record low river flows to the CLLMM region due to drought and over-allocation across the Murray-Darling Basin. A range of environmental and community issues – such as acid sulfate soils, salinity and the invasion of pest plants and animals – now affect the region.

Flows have recently increased, resulting in higher water levels and flow reaching the Coorong. However many issues affecting the region remain. If they are not remedied or managed properly there could be serious and irreversible environmental impacts on the wetlands.

The work being carried out to protect the region now will allow us to manage and monitor the refreshed wetland environment under changed conditions in the future. Further investment is taking place by the Australian and South Australian Governments through the Murray Futures and The Living Murray programs.

Download maps of the CLLMM region.

Aims of the project

The CLLMM Recovery Project worked to deliver a healthy and resilient wetland to support local communities and the region’s traditional owners.

Key objectives of the project include:

  • improving the ecological features of the CLLMM region in order to deliver a healthy and resilient wetland
  • enabling the CLLMM ecosystem to adapt to a variable climate and variable water levels
  • ensuring the environmental values that give the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth wetland its international significance are protected
  • maintaining salinity levels close to historic trends in the CLLMM region, and an open Murray Mouth
  • preserving and promoting the culture of the region’s traditional owners, the Ngarrindjeri, through partnership and involvement in projects
  • supporting local communities that depend on the health of the region
  • increasing capacity, knowledge, and understanding across communities.

Key elements of the project

The CLLMM Recovery Project was comprised of 20 management actions. The department partnered with the community and traditional owners to deliver these management actions, including:

Restoring habitats

Restoring vegetation:

Other actions:

Significant projects in the region

Use the Natural Resources SA Murray-Darling Basin project finder to see what else is being done to restore the health of the region.

Coorong and Lakes Wetland Portal

Want to find more information, including technical reports and data about the Coorong on Lower Lakes? The Coorong and Lakes Ramsar Wetland Portal provides the community with access to information about the regulatory framework and governance arrangements for site management, as well as direct access to publications developed through the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth Recovery Project.

Lakes Hubs

The Lakes Hubs are community managed centres that connect local communities with environmental information and advice about what is happening in the Lower Lakes, Coorong and Murray Mouth region. They are located at Meningie and Milang.

Visit the Lakes Hubs

Further resources