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Lower Lakes, Coorong and Murray Mouth

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  • A new framework has been developed to manage Lakes Alexandrina and Albert during times of extreme drought.

Watering events 2014–15

During 2014–15 the Lower Lakes, Coorong and Murray Mouth will benefit from environmental water designed to:

  • support the recruitment of native freshwater and estuarine fish and invertebrates
  • improve the health of fringing wetlands including, wetland fish, frogs and plants
  • provide connectivity between wetlands and the River Murray

The open mouth of the River Murray
The open mouth of the River Murray (Photo: SA Water, 2014)
Small-mouthed hardyhead
Small-mouthed hardyhead
A waterhen on the edge of Lake Albert near Meningie in South Australia.
A waterhen on the edge of Lake Albert near Meningie in South Australia.

  • contribute to the Lower Lakes to support a healthy and diverse riparian vegetation community
  • contribute to maintenance of a range of healthy salinity conditions in the Coorong that support healthy populations of keystone species such as Ruppia tuberosa and Ruppia megacarpa.

Ecological objectives

There are three high-level ecological objectives for the Lower Lakes, Coorong and Murray Mouth Icon Site:

  • an open Murray Mouth
  • more frequent estuarine fish recruitment
  • enhanced migratory wader bird habitat in the Lower Lakes and Coorong .

Underpinning these ecological objectives, there are 16 ecological targets, which were developed to quantify changes in the condition of the site. These targets are detailed in the Lower Lakes, Coorong and Murray Mouth Environmental Water Management Plan.

About the Lower Lakes, Coorong and Murray Mouth

This icon site is where the River Murray meets the Southern Ocean in South Australia. Covering over 140,000 ha, the Ramsar site includes 23 different wetland types that range from fresh water to saltier than the sea.

As a complex environment, this site is one of 10 major Australian havens for large concentrations of wading birds and is recognised internationally as a breeding ground for many species of waterbirds and native fish.

Our vision for the Lower Lakes, Coorong and Murray Mouth icon site is to promote a healthier Lower Lakes and Coorong estuarine environment.

Past watering events

Water Year

Volume

Outcomes

2013–14

156 GL

Created suitable conditions for flowering and fruiting of Ruppia into early summer.

2012–13

239 GL

Maintained connectivity between the Lower Lakes and estuary, maintained open Murray Mouth, maintained acceptable salinity levels in Lake Alexandrina and provided lateral connectivity with the Murray River Channel.

2011–12

142.4 GL

Enhanced migratory bird habitat in the Lower Lakes and Coorong, increased frequency of estuarine fish spawning and recruitment and maintained an open Murray Mouth

2010–11

34.3 GL

Enhanced migratory waterbird habitat and allowed greater fish passage across the barrages between the Coorong, Murray Mouth and Lake Alexandrina.

2009–10

48.6 GL

Maintained drought refuges for threatened waterbirds and fish species, prevented loss of aquatic vegetation and reduced salinity and the risk of broad scale acidification in Lake Albert.

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12 March 2015

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