The Coorong, Lakes Albert and Lake Alexandrina are considered nationally and internationally significant.
The Coorong and Lakes are at the end of the River Murray, the longest and largest river in Australia. The site incorporates 23 different wetland types which range from:
- freshwater to hypersaline
- dense vegetation to open water
- temporary to permanently inundated.
This unique wetland supports:
- nationally and internationally threatened species, including fairy tern, orange-bellied parrot, Murray hardyhead and southern bell frog
- a mosaic of over twenty important wetland types, including two threatened ecological communities (coastal saltmarsh and swamps of Fleurieu Peninsula)
- over one hundred wetland dependent waterbird species, including migratory waterbird species
- over forty species of fish, including the Yarra pygmy perch, small-mouth hardyhead, lagoon goby and Tamar goby, which are not found elsewhere within the Murray-Darling Basin
They were formally recognised as a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance in 1985, when the Coorong, and Lakes Albert and Alexandrina Wetland became Australia’s twenty-fifth Ramsar site. This was followed by recognition as a matter of national environmental significance under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act in 1999.
As a contracting party to the Ramsar Convention, Australia is required to promote the conservation of the Ramsar wetlands, and to manage sites to maintain their ecological character.
The current Ecological Character Description (ECD) for the Coorong and Lakes can be found here. The department is currently updating the ECD for the Coorong and Lakes. This work is expected to be completed in 2019.
The current Ramsar Management Plan (RMP) for the Coorong, and Lakes Alexandrina and Albert Wetland was finalised in 2000. The plan sets out the actions to manage and promote the ecological character as described in the Ecological Character Description (ECD) and address threats to the wetland.
The department is currently updating the Ramsar Management Plan. The plan will ensure community views are taken into account, and describe the management strategies that will be put in place to ensure that the ecological character of the site will be maintained.
Find out more about the Ramsar Management Plan