News from Aldinga Washpool: logger installed and Drew Kilner, Cultural Liaison Officer, joins NGT

Another new face joined the NGT team recently, with Drew Kilner, Kaurna and Ngarrindjeri man, coming on board as Cultural Liaison Officer on our project investigating the restoration potential of the Aldinga Washpool. Drew is working with Ben as we seek to understand the history of this wetland, one of the last coastal lagoons remaining in the Adelaide region in a relatively intact state. Drew will help us engage with the Traditional Owners of the area in a culturally appropriate way and help ensure that any hydrological restoration options for the Washpool are informed by Kaurna knowledge and aspirations. Drew lives south of Adelaide and loves the beach, fishing, spending time with his family, walking in the bush and doing anything that connects him to his culture.

Drew Kilner has joined the team as a Cultural Liaison Officer (photo: Ben Searcy)

In early June, just in time for winter inflows, Ben installed a water level logger at The Washpool. This will provide important information on water level fluctuations within the lagoon, information that, as far as we know, has never been collected before. If hydrological restoration is implemented some time in the future, we will be able to measure the effectiveness of such works by comparing water levels before and after restoration.

The Adelaide region has experienced a dry autumn this year but early season, shallow inundation of The Washpool was evident in early June. The small amount of wetland habitat had attracted a small but interesting community of waterbirds including black-winged (pied) stilt (Himantopus himantopus) and Australasian shoveler (Anas rhynchotis). Since then we have had a good dump of rain, with more forecast, so we anticipate The Washpool will soon fill to its current maximum level, which our research so far suggests makes for a considerably smaller wetland than was the case before artificial drains were excavated.

Early season, shallow inundation of The Washpool, 10th June 2021.

Although it is situated on government land, up until now The Washpool has had no formal conservation status. Plans to proclaim The Washpool as a Conservation Park have been progressing for some time, and as a recent media release from the South Australian Government makes clear, the protection of The Washpool in perpetuity is now assured – which is a fantastic outcome for the site and its future.

Our work to understand the ecohydrological history of The Washpool, and develop hydrological restoration plans appears to be very timely.

This project is seeded by Green Adelaide.

Ben Taylor