It has been 6 months since NGT first made our considered ecological perspective about the SE Flows Restoration Project available via our website – for more information see this link.
In the time that has passed, some important positive developments have occurred to progress the option of using a restored Tilley Swamp watercourse to convey flows to the Coorong, but there are also signs that some issues, such as the restoration of flows to the Northern Bakers Range Watercourse, are not being addressed as simply and quickly as they might be to ensure this project can be delivered successfully on time and within budget.
It is with these issues in mind, that NGT has presented a second discussion paper to both the state and federal governments, that is also provided here in full for our regional community to have the opportunity to review: NGT Discussion Paper 2 – Coorong and Upper SE Wetlands – 20-05-2015
If you don’t have time to read this 8-page document, the following concise summary might be of benefit:
- restoring flows from the Blackford Drain to the Tilley Swamp watercourse, and then making this water available for release – only if and when required in the Coorong – makes good hydrological and ecological sense and derives the maximum environmental benefit from this substantial Australian and SA Government investment.
- as a pre-requisite, negotiating this outcome requires a concurrent solution for restoring flows to the Northern Bakers Range Watercourse.
- the value (of restoring flows to the Northern Bakers Range watercourse) to the Coorong and Lower Lakes Ramsar site is direct and significant, but primarily ecological rather than hydrological in nature.
- the Northern Bakers Range Watercourse provides waterbird breeding habitat for a wide range of species, whereas the Coorong is primarily a summer or drought refuge habitat for many of those same species.
- the listed Ramsar values of the Coorong are intimately linked to the health of the wetlands in the Northern Bakers Range Watercourse, due to the close proximity of these sites and the waterbirds that share these critical, complementary habitats through their life cycles.
In short, let’s use common sense (underpinned by our established ecological knowledge), to improve both the Coorong and the nearby significant wetland habitats that directly influence the ecological character of the Ramsar site.