There are a diverse range of wetlands in the Murraylands including permanent rivers, streams and creeks, permanent and brackish lakes, intermittent or seasonal lakes, streams and creeks.
With water diversions and regulation both interstate and within South Australia, the flows in the River Murray have declined by two thirds. The floodplain wetlands along the River now face either permanent inundation, due to the locks and weirs holding artificially high pool levels, or are subjected to more frequent ‘human induced’ droughts. Either way, the wetlands and associated ecosystems have suffered through being denied the natural wetting-drying cycles to which they evolved over many thousands of years.
To turn this situation around, natural water regimes are being trialled at certain wetlands in the Murraylands.
The following wetlands are managed by DEWNR and are located on either a National Park, Wildlife reserve or crown land:
- Morgan lagoons
- Ngak Indua Wetlands
- Causeway Wetland Complex (Causeway Lagoon, Little Duck Lagoon, Winding Creek & Old Loxton Road Lagoon)
- Pilby Wetland Complex (Pilby lagoon, Pilby Creek & Lock 6 Depression)
- Pipeclay Billabong
- Slaney Billabong
- Werta Wert Lagoons
- Lake Limbra
- Lake Littra
The Wetland Officer within Conservation Programs is responsible for wetland planning, management and monitoring of wetlands on DEWNR land.
Monitoring the ecological response of a wetland to management is critical in determining the success of a management action and can be used to adjust or change future management. In order to assess the ecological response a series of parameters relevant to the management targets have been identified for each individual wetland in their respective management plan. Monitoring parameters usually include aspects of water quality, vegetation, fish, frogs and waterbirds.
Katfish Reach Project
Katfish Reach is a Demonstration Reach for native fish under the Native Fish Strategy of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority. The Project encompasses the Katarapko and Eckert Creek area, and is the only Demonstration Reach along the River Murray in South Australia.
The Katarapko and Eckert Creek floodplain includes; The Splash, Sawmill and Piggy Creeks (with a total length of approximately 38 km). Four wetland complexes (Katarapko Island Horseshoe Lagoons, Katarapko Island swamps, Ngak Indau and Eckert Creek wetlands) with a total area of approximately 230 hectares (See Demo Reach Map.pdf). The majority of the site is within the River Murray National Park, (Katarapko). However, within the project area and adjacent to Eckert Creek, there is land held by the Gerard Reserve for Aboriginal people, three private landowners and Crown Land.
Since the inception of the Katfish Reach Project in 2007, the following achievements have been made:
- Community Steering Group established
- Katfish Reach Implementation Plan and Investment Proposal developed
- Community Engagement Strategy commenced
- Pest animal and plant control over 15,000 ha in and adjacent to Katfish Reach
- Replaced three floodplain and flow barriers
- Intervention monitoring commenced
Katfish Reach is continuing to deliver outcomes and achievements for the area, and future directions for the project include:
- Remove barriers to fish movement and increase flow through 44km of waterways
- Flood at low levels over 1,000 hectares of floodplain
- Temporarily and partially dry 13 km of waterways
- Manage four wetlands covering 180 hectares
- Manage Murray hardyhead habitat
For more information about Katfish Reach, visit www.katfish.org.au