A report into the health of the Coorong shows the region is at risk of losing its status as a wetland of international importance.
The region was facing near collapse during the Millennium Drought and the after affects of that are still causing issues today. Water extraction upstream continues to affect the ecosystem with algae interfering with plant growth which in turn affects the food supply of migratory birds.
The Goyder Institute Report recommends the physical removal of the algae and the creation of an aquatic plant nursery in the region.
Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs said the reports build a working vision to help restore the health of the Coorong, characterised by healthy vegetation and with abundant and diverse populations of waterbirds, fish and plants.
“During the Millennium Drought the Coorong was at the brink of collapse, but thanks to measures under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan the environment is slowly recovering,” said Minister Speirs.
“Yet the ecology of the South Lagoon of the Coorong has remained in a degraded state, despite the delivery of water for the environment in recent years.
“When I became Minister I made it clear that we needed a much stronger understanding of the Coorong which is why I initiated the Coorong summit, pulling together our key scientific experts to create a consensus as what was needed to restore this precious habitat.
“The reports recommend a series of short, medium and long-term remediation actions to restore the Coorong.
“This includes establishing a series of refuge wetlands while the south lagoon is recovering, optimising the benefits of water from the River Murray, Southern Ocean and the Upper South East, and managing nutrients to control algae growth.”
Image: By Mundoo [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons