Coorong and Lakes Alexandrina and Albert Wetland

Coorong - map 

Coorong - map (PDF - 424 KB)

About the catchment

The Coorong and Lakes Alexandrina and Albert hotspot does not include a catchment because the sole project focus was acid sulfate soil investigation in, and adjacent to, the water bodies (The Coorong, Lake Alexandrina, Lake Albert and associated waterways).

The Coorong is a 140-km-long expanse of water, separated from the southern ocean by a narrow coastal dune barrier, extending from Hindmarsh and Mindoo islands near the Murray Mouth to just beyond Tilley Swamp at the south-east margin.

The Lower Lakes (Lakes Alexandrina and Albert) are found inland adjacent to The Coorong, and are separated from The Coorong by a system of barrages.

Goolwa and Meningie are the main town centres in the region, which is located within the most downstream section of the Lower Murray River drainage basin.

Values to be protected

  • The unique ecological and hydrological values of The Coorong and Lakes Alexandrina and Albert wetlands. The primary determinants of the ecological character are salinity, water regime, water levels, keystone aquatic plants, habitat availability, turbidity and sedimentation.
  • The Aboriginal (traditional and archaeological), historic and geological sites.

Ramsar site

The Coorong, and Lakes Alexandrina and Albert Wetland

Water quality issues

  • Changes to hydrological and ecological character due to low flows as result of water diversion upstream and drought conditions.
  • The presence of exotic plants and animals, including predators and competitors.
  • The Coorong is an important breeding area for the Pelican, Crested Tern and Fairy Tern, and Lake Alexandrina for egrets, ibises, cormorants and the Rufous Night Heron (Nycticorax caledonicus).
  • Decline in water quality of lakes, fish kills, noxious odours from rotting vegetation as lakes evaporate and dry out.
  • Low water levels leading to exposure of acid sulfate soils, increased salinity and loss of aquatic habitats.

Key water quality improvement projects

  • Acid Sulfate Soil Investigation
  • Management Plan for The Coorong, and Lakes Alexandrina and Albert Wetland
  • Macrobenthic survey 2004 in the Murray Mouth, Coorong and Lower Lakes Ramsar site, with an evaluation of food availability for shorebirds and possible indicator functions of benthic species—South Australian Dept Environment and Heritage
  • Seaman, R.L. (2003) Coorong and Lower Lakes habitat-mapping program—South Australian Dept Environment and Heritage
  • An assessment of the non-market recreational values at Barmah Forest and the Coorong. CSIRO Water for a Healthy Country

Key stakeholders/agencies

  • CSIRO Land & Water South Australia
  • South Australian Dept of Environment and Heritage
  • Murray-Darling Basin Commission
  • CSIRO Water for a Healthy Country