Fleurieu Swamps update: SwampFest 2018 a big success

Last weekend, NGT’s Ben Taylor and Tessa Roberts joined and enthusiastic bunch of volunteer tree-planters in Stipiturus Conservation Park on the Fleurieu Peninsula, SA. The popular community planting event, known as ‘SwampFest’, is held annually in the park to help re-vegetate historically cleared areas, and increase habitat for the endangered Mount Lofty Ranges Southern Emu-wren. The park, and the swamp within it (Glenshera Swamp), is an important remaining stronghold for the wrens, and also an area where NGT has been working hard on hydrological restoration over the past few years.

Volunteers planting

We were lucky enough to have a gorgeous sunny day, and young and old got stuck into planting around 7000 plants, including the endangered Mount Compass Oak-bush! Over a hot baked-potato lunch, NGT’s Ben Taylor gave everyone an overview of NGT’s hydrological restoration works.

Ben speaking at SwampFest 2018

Ben getting into planting

As well as showing some very striking before and after photos, Ben talked about some recent water level logger data which has shown fantastic results. We’ve seen significant increases in ground water levels in the swamp, correlating with the installation of the sand-bag structures. This shows that our structures are working well to redirect water back into the swamp, which is evident in both the vegetation changes and water level data.

Ben has updated a comprehensive handout (click link left to download a pdf) detailing the history of the works and the recent water level data. In the reinstated creek upstream of the swamp, the surface water was maintained higher in the winter after the structures were put in, compared with before (blue line below). This has improved the aquatic habitat of the creek area and may also help to recharge groundwater.

Higher surface water levels maintained after the structures were installed

Inside the swamp, groundwater was been maintained at consistently higher levels since the previous winter, despite lower rainfall this year (orange line below), and a recent decline in water levels due to the exceptionally dry summer.

Consistently higher groundwater in the winter after structure installation

Consistently higher groundwater in the winter after structure installation

It was great to be able to share the progress of the hydrological works with such a broad section of the community and see so many people contributing to this important site. We can’t wait to see more positive changes unfold when the winter rains come, and of course watch all those little seedlings grow!

Tessa Roberts
Tessa Roberts
tessa.roberts@natureglenelg.org.au