Permits introduced to protect ponds
New snorkelling and diving permits for Ewens Ponds Conservation Park will soon be introduced to better conserve and sustain the crystal clear limestone ponds for the future.
Ewens Ponds Conservation Park is a unique local attraction, but with increased visitation comes damage to this special area.
To manage the resource, the Department for Environment and Water is introducing a permit system in the coming months with the aim of ensuring the conservation and sustainable use of the ponds.
Senior Ranger Aidan Laslett said the Department has already taken other steps to conserve this area for visitors and the unique species that call the ponds home.
“In an effort to preserve this amazing place, we no longer permit any general swimming in the ponds and have a seasonal closure over spring to let the ponds rejuvenate,” Aidan said.
“Ewens Ponds provides habitat to the endangered Glenelg Spiny Freshwater Crayfish (Euastacus bispinosus), and the vulnerable Ewens Pygmy Perch (Nannoperca variegata). The brilliant water clarity also allows plants to grow underwater to depths of around 6 metres. Some of these plants are not found growing fully submerged anywhere else in the world.”
Thousands of recreational divers and snorkelers visit the ponds each year, adding to vegetation damage as sediment is stirred up and underwater plants are disturbed.
“Unfortunately this aquatic vegetation has greatly deteriorated,” Aidan said.
“The permit system will limit the number of people in the water at any given time. This will help to manage the impact on underwater vegetation, and to provide a better experience for visitors who deserve to see this special area under the best possible conditions.”
Permits will be available to purchase via the National Parks SA website, and will allow visitors to be in the water for up to one hour. Snorkelling permits are $15.00 per adult, $13.00 concession, and $10.00 for children 15 years and under. Annual permits will also be available.
“Permit fees will go towards the ongoing management of Ewens Ponds, ensuring that this unique local gem is kept intact for years to come.”
For more information, contact Natural Resources South East on 87351177.