Investing in better wetland and floodplain management

The Riverine Recovery Project (RRP) used adaptive management and engineering solutions to restore more natural water flows to critical ecosystems along the River Murray between Wellington and the South Australian border.

RRP delivered benefits to wetlands and floodplains through the efficient use of water for the environment. It has also delivered savings to the Australian Government to be used for environmental purposes as part of the Basin Plan’s Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism.

For a full description of the project, its conduct, benefits and outcomes please see the RRP Final Report .

A short film outlining the impact and achievements of RRP can be viewed in full or an abridged version can be viewed.

What was done

The Riverine Recovery Project took an integrated and complementary approach to the restoration works.

  1. Early on-ground works comprised of the construction of infrastructure at the Pike and Katfish (Katarapko) floodplains, as well as Yatco Lagoon to improve the management of water flows.
  2. Environmental benefits provided to the region, RRP invested in wetland management at sites of high ecological value, including reinstating more natural wetting and drying cycles.
  3. Restoration of the Pike Floodplain to enhance management of natural high flow events through improved infrastructure and better connecting the floodplain with the river to facilitate fish passage and improve environmental health.
  4. Improved floodplain resilience through restoration works at the Katfish Reach Floodplain (also known as Katarapko Floodplain) to better connect it with the river and facilitate fish passage by removing barriers.
  5. Investigated weir pool manipulation options to identify opportunities to use weirs to mimic the natural fluctuations in water level that occurred prior to river regulation.

Underpinning the project was engagement with local stakeholders, including landholders and Aboriginal Nations and a recognition that information must support decision-making. Monitoring wetland flora, fauna and water quality contributed to achieving the best possible environmental scientifically based solutions.

A number of RRP deliverables were complementary or precursors to the South Australian Riverland Floodplains Integrated Infrastructure Program (SARFIIP).

The $83.3 million Riverine Recovery Project was funded by the Australian Government (90%) and the Government of South Australia (10%).