Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin Action Plan

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Consultation Process

Now Closed

This online engagement was hosted on YourSAy from 23 August to 31 October 2019. Below is a record of the engagement.

Help shape how we restore and revitalise the Coorong. Have your say on the Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin Action Plan.

What is being decided?

Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin is a $70 million investment by the Australian and South Australian governments from 2019 to 2024 to manage the Coorong for ecological health and, through this, support the Coorong, Lakes Alexandrina and Albert Wetland Ramsar site to be a healthy, productive and resilient wetland that maintains its

Consultation Process

Now Closed

This online engagement was hosted on YourSAy from 23 August to 31 October 2019. Below is a record of the engagement.

Help shape how we restore and revitalise the Coorong. Have your say on the Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin Action Plan.

What is being decided?

Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin is a $70 million investment by the Australian and South Australian governments from 2019 to 2024 to manage the Coorong for ecological health and, through this, support the Coorong, Lakes Alexandrina and Albert Wetland Ramsar site to be a healthy, productive and resilient wetland that maintains its international significance.

The South Australian government has developed a Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin Action Plan to guide the government’s next actions to restore and revitalise the Coorong under this investment.

You are invited to tell us what you think of our working vision and priorities for restoring the Coorong since the devastation of the Millennium Drought. We are committed to ensuring that government’s decisions and actions, reflect the community’s values and aspirations, and incorporates local knowledge and expertise.

The Action Plan presents a working vision of the short, medium and long-term on-ground works, scientific trials and investigations, management tools and infrastructure activities required to get the Coorong back on track for a healthy future.

Restoring a healthy Coorong is critical for the environment, First Nations, local communities, the South Australian tourism industry, food production and the overall health of the Murray-Darling Basin. That’s why action is underway to restore the Coorong’s health, bringing new life to the region.

Get involved

To have your say, download the Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin Action Plan and provide your feedback.

How can your input influence the decision?

Your input will help shape the vision and priorities for restoring and revitalising the Coorong.

What are the next steps?

A report on what we heard will be available on YourSAy and on the Project Coorong website in late 2019.

Contact

For more information contact the Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin team:

Closing date: 5pm Thursday 31 October 2019




Background

Now Closed

This online engagement was hosted on YourSAy from 23 August to 31 October 2019. Find out more about the consultation process. Below is a record of the engagement.

Why is the Coorong important?

The Coorong is a national treasure, with its natural beauty, abundant wildlife and unspoilt coastline, making it one of South Australia’s most loved and most visited tourist destinations.

The Coorong is also of enormous cultural significance to its Traditional Owners and First Nations.

This special wetland is home to an amazing number of water birds and supports endangered migratory birds from across the world, threatened wildlife and rare plants, and is an important breeding area for the Australian pelican.

The Coorong’s health is also important to the entire Murray-Darling Basin system, which supports Australia’s ‘food bowl’ and is home to more than two million people.

Why do we need an Action Plan?

During the Millennium Drought the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth region was teetering on the verge of complete environmental collapse.

While the majority of the site is slowly recovering, the ecology of the Coorong South Lagoon remains in a degraded state.

River systems die from the mouth up, which is why restoring the Coorong’s health is important to the entire Murray Darling Basin.

How has the Action Plan been developed?

In 2018 the South Australia Government commissioned the Goyder Institute for Water Research to prepare the Goyder Expert Panel Report (PDF downloads) and convened the Coorong Summit (PDF report downloads) to develop a working vision and collective solutions for the Coorong South Lagoon.

What is included in the Action Plan?

The Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin Action Plan will be delivered through a series of inter-related projects. These projects will deliver immediate actions that have been identified as clear opportunities to improve the ecology, knowledge and management of the Coorong, as well as investigating longer term actions, which require further trials, investigations and feasibility assessments before a decision regarding action can be made.

Find out more about our key actions.

How can I be more involved?

As part of the Project Coorong initiative, a new Coorong Partnership will be established to provide local communities and groups with an unprecedented opportunity to help shape the work to be undertaken.

The Coorong Partnership will provide community insight, ideas and perspectives to inform government decision making and ensure that management actions incorporate local knowledge and contribute to achieving community needs and aspirations.

To find out more about the Action Plan, Coorong Partnership, volunteering opportunities, and to subscribe to the newsletter visit the Project Coorong website.

Consultation has concluded
  • What you said

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    by BTT_Migration_Team,

    Now Closed

    This online engagement was hosted on YourSAy from 23 August to 31 October 2019. Find out more about the consultation process. Below is a record of the engagement.

    To have your say, download the Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin Action Plan and provide your feedback.

  • Community Discussions

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    by BTT_Migration_Team,

    Now Closed

    This online engagement was hosted on YourSAy from 23 August to 31 October 2019. Find out more about the consultation process. Below is a record of the engagement.

    These sessions will provide an opportunity to learn more about Project Coorong and for the community to offer their valuable thoughts, together with others, to shape the work proposed.

    Sessions will be held as follows:

    • Meningie - Wednesday 9 October 2019 from 2:00pm - 5:00pm

    Meningie Bowling Club, Princes Highway, Meningie

    • Goolwa - Thursday 10 October 2019 from 2:00pm - 5:00pm

    Signal Point Gallery, the Wharf, Goolwa

    • Robe – Wednesday 16 October 2019 2:00pm – 5:00pm

    Robe Bowling Club, 1 Victoria St, Robe

    • Salt Creek - Thursday 17 October 2019 from 5:00pm - 8:00pm

    Salt Creek CFS/SA Ambulance building, 11097 Princes Highway, Salt Creek

    • Kingston - Friday 18 October 2019 from 2:00pm - 5:00pm

    Kingston Council Chamber, 29 Holland Street, Kingston

    The sessions will be facilitated by the Coorong Tatiara Local Action Plan.

    Bookings essential for catering purposes. Registrations now open via Eventbrite.

    If you have any questions, please email projectcoorong@sa.gov.au

  • Key Actions

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    by BTT_Migration_Team,

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    This online engagement was hosted on YourSAy from 23 August to 31 October 2019. Find out more about the consultation process. Below is a record of the engagement.

    We have identified four target areas and priority actions:

    • On-ground works
    • Scientific trials and investigations
    • Water resource optimisation
    • Investigation of long-term infrastructure options.

    On-ground works

    Recognising the need to avoid the permanent loss of ecological values, the government will work with scientists, First Nations and the local community to implement a series of ‘no-regrets’ on-ground actions that address immediate threats to the Coorong.

    Actions, which aim to improve the availability and quality of waterbird habitat while the longer-term rehabilitation of the Coorong is undertaken, will include:

    • restoration of priority aquatic plants that provide habitat and a food source for fish and waterbirds
    • physical removal of filamentous algae
    • enhanced management and/or restoration of wetland habitat within the Coorong and Lower Lakes region, and potentially the South East, to provide an immediate refuge for Coorong waterbird species.

    In addition, modifications to irrigation system offtakes between Lock 1 and the barrages that enhance operational flexibility for the delivery of environmental water to the Coorong will be pursued.

    All on-ground works will be designed and delivered to have low impact on the surrounding locations and foster partnerships with First Nations and the community.

    Scientific trials and investigations

    Through years of monitoring and research, we have built a good understanding of the Coorong and its role in supporting a unique diversity of fish, plants and waterbirds.

    However some elements of the Coorong have now undergone a number of long-term changes and a number of new threats to the system present novel management challenges for which we need to find solutions.

    It is important that work to restore a healthy Coorong is based on the latest science.

    Trials and investigations will be designed to fill key knowledge gaps and provide the scientific evidence-base to inform what management actions might be required to:

    • reduce nutrient loads and algae abundance in the Coorong
    • switch the South Lagoon back to an aquatic plant dominated system rather than an algal dominated system
    • provide the food resources that are required to support waterbirds and fish populations
    • increase the abundance and distribution of waterbird populations at local and regional scales within the Coorong
    • identify the adaptation pathways that are required to ensure that the ecological values of the Coorong are maintained into the future under a changing climate
    • incorporate cultural knowledge and values of the First Nations into decision-making.

    Water resource optimisation

    Providing water to the Coorong is vital for restoring its ecological values. To improve certainty that the delivery of water to the Coorong will achieve its intended purpose, sophisticated forecasting and modelling tools are necessary. These tools allow site operators to effectively plan and manage the use of water for environmental purposes and ensure that the water available is used in an efficient manner.

    Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin proposes developing:

    • a hydrological forecasting model to enable short and long-range scenario testing
    • a Management Action Database to coordinate the storage and retrieval of vital water management information.

    For these tools to be accurate and empower water managers to use water effectively and efficiently, they need to be informed by targeted monitoring.

    Targeted monitoring, which will also help evaluate on-ground actions, will include:

    • extensive water quality sampling
    • improvements to existing Coorong monitoring stations
    • Coorong flow gauging and bathymetry assessments.

    Investigation of long-term infrastructure options

    The hydrology of the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth system has been dramatically altered. Maintaining the long-term ecological health and resilience of the Coorong may not be achievable through improved knowledge and water resource optimisation alone.

    Operators have very few tools to manage flows efficiently and effectively within the Coorong and in particular the Coorong South Lagoon. The current tools available to manipulate flows and water levels in the south lagoon include:

    • River Murray environmental flow provisions
    • barrage operations
    • Murray Mouth dredging
    • flows from the South East.

    Additional management options may be required, particularly in the face of climate change.

    A number of potential major infrastructure and management options have been identified over the years to potentially improve water delivery to, and enhance the ecological health of, the Coorong.

    Noting the close engagement with First Nations and community that will need to occur, the Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin project will assess the technical feasibility and the environmental, social and cultural benefits and impacts of long-term management solutions to improve flows to the Coorong.

    Options to be consulted on, and potentially investigated to feasibility assessment, could include:

    • a connecting pipe or channel between Lake Albert and the Coorong to improve environmental water delivery to the Coorong
    • improvements to connectivity between the North and South Lagoons and the Lower Lakes
    • options to maintain an open Murray Mouth, mitigate the need for dredging and provide greater seawater exchange with the Coorong
    • augmenting the South East Flows Restoration Project with additional water from the South East that currently flows out to sea
    • options to regulate and maintain water levels in the Coorong South Lagoon.

    In addition, consideration will be given to ‘up-scaling’ management options from the scientific trials and investigations and ‘no regrets’ on-ground works.

    For those long-term operational infrastructure options deemed feasible, business cases will be developed to support their implementation under the Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin investment, or future funding.

    Download the Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin Action Plan.

  • Updates

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    by BTT_Migration_Team,

    Consultation Summary Report released

    The Consultation Summary Report on the Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin Action Plan is now available.