Wetland planning aims to maintain and improve the health of the many wetlands along the River Murray in the SA Murray-Darling Basin. These wetlands and the ecosystems they support rely on a natural wetting-drying cycle that has evolved over many thousands of years. However, water diversions and regulations have changed this cycle.
The amount of water flowing down the River Murray has reduced by two thirds, creating human induced droughts in many wetlands. For other wetlands, locks and weirs hold water at artificially high levels. Not allowing the natural wetting-drying cycle has had significant impacts on these wetlands. To address this, wetland plans have been put in place to reintroduce more natural watering regimes.
Wetland management plans
Wetland management plans have been developed for a number of wetlands along the River Murray. These plans describe the social and ecological value of the wetlands, informed by on-going monitoring programs and the River Murray Wetlands Baseline Surveys conducted in 2003-2006.
The plans outline the preferred management of these wetlands to reintroduce more natural watering regimes, fulfilling obligations under the Water Allocation Plan for the River Murray Prescribed Watercourse, and aiming to fulfil the objectives of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. To developed and implement many of these wetland plans, Natural Resources SA Murray-Darling Basin works closely with the community.
There are wetland plans under development for the following wetlands in the SA Murray-Darling Basin:
- Berri Evaporation Basin
- Bookmark Creek
- Brenda Park/Scotts Creek Wetland Complex
- Causeway Wetland Complex (Causeway Lagoon, Little Duck Lagoon, Winding Creek and Old Loxton Road Lagoon)
- Devon Downs South
- Dishers Creek
- Hart Lagoon
- Loveday Lagoons (Mussel Lagoons)
- Markaranka Wetland
- Martins Bend Wetlands
- Morgan Conservation Park Lagoons
- Morgans Lagoon (Lower Murray)
- Murbko South Wetland
- Murbpook Lagoon
- Narrung Wetland
- Ngak Indua Wetlands
- Nigra Creek / Schillers Lagoon Wetlands
- Noonawirra Wetland
- Paiwalla Wetland
- Pilby Wetland Complex (Pilby lagoon, Pilby Creek and Lock 6 Depression)
- Pipeclay Billabong
- Ramco Lagoon
- Reedy Creek Wetland
- Slaney Billabong
- Sweeneys Lagoon
- Sugar Shack
Not all wetlands along the River Murray have a wetland plan. Due the large areas of floodplain and wetlands along the length of the River Murray, resources must be prioritised.