South East Coastal Lakes Project

South East Coastal Lakes Project

Iden­ti­fy­ing man­age­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties for the South East coastal lakes

Along the coast­line in the South East of South Aus­tralia there are a num­ber of coastal lakes that pro­vide impor­tant habi­tat for water­birds and have unique fea­tures that are high­ly val­ued by First Nations peo­ple and the wider community. 

The Depart­ment for Envi­ron­ment and Water (DEW) is under­tak­ing an engage­ment and plan­ning process to iden­ti­fy oppor­tu­ni­ties to man­age the lakes to ensure their unique fea­tures and val­ues are pro­tect­ed and main­tained into the future. 

Please see the Your­SAy site for details of the lakes involved in the project.

This includes con­sid­er­ing how to bal­ance oppor­tu­ni­ties for peo­ple to enjoy the lakes through activ­i­ties such as fish­ing, boat­ing, hunt­ing, camp­ing, walk­ing, bird­watch­ing and wind­surf­ing, with envi­ron­men­tal and cul­tur­al her­itage values. 

Lakes includ­ed in the project are Lake Bon­ney SE, Lake George, Lake St Clair, Lake Eliza, Lake Haw­don North. Mullins Swamp was part of the South East Coastal Lakes Project and dur­ing inves­ti­ga­tions it was iden­ti­fied that the land tenure of Mullins Swamp is dif­fer­ent from the oth­er lakes as it is not sub­ject to a Native Title claim, and for this rea­son it has been removed from the project and its pro­posed future man­age­ment is being con­sult­ed on separately.

The Boandik/​Bun­gan­ditj peo­ple are the Tra­di­tion­al Own­ers of the lands where the coastal lakes are located.

Val­ued by many

The lakes are val­ued coun­try for First Nations peo­ple and have sites of cul­tur­al sig­nif­i­cance and pro­vide impor­tant places for totems and cul­tur­al practices. 

The lakes pro­vide impor­tant habi­tat for a range of water­birds includ­ing a num­ber of migra­to­ry species list­ed on the Envi­ron­ment Pro­tec­tion and Bio­di­ver­si­ty Con­ser­va­tion Act 1999 and species of nation­al and state con­ser­va­tion sig­nif­i­cance. Migra­to­ry shore­birds from the North­ern Hemi­sphere use it as an impor­tant habi­tat area on the East Asian-Aus­­tralasian Flyway.

The lakes also pro­vide impor­tant recre­ation oppor­tu­ni­ties includ­ing bird watch­ing, hunt­ing, walk­ing, camp­ing, wind­surf­ing, boat­ing and fish­ing. The lakes are becom­ing increas­ing­ly pop­u­lar with tourists from both with­in South Aus­tralia and inter­state. Beach­port and Robe have increased in pop­u­lar­i­ty being attrac­tive beach­side towns, fur­ther increas­ing vis­i­ta­tion to the lakes. 

Improved Man­age­ment

The South East coastal lakes and much of the sur­round­ing land is unalien­at­ed Crown land man­aged by the Nation­al Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice SA under the Crown Land Man­age­ment Act 2009.

A num­ber of com­mu­ni­ty groups and indi­vid­u­als have made impor­tant con­tri­bu­tions to the lakes’ man­age­ment for many years. Look­ing at oppor­tu­ni­ties for improved man­age­ment will build on this work and help man­age impacts from altered hydrol­o­gy, adjoin­ing and upstream agri­cul­tur­al land use and unreg­u­lat­ed recre­ation activities.

Pro­pos­als for man­age­ment and your input

In 2022, phase one of the project engaged with the com­mu­ni­ty and stake­hold­ers to under­stand how peo­ple use and val­ue the lakes and iden­ti­fied the envi­ron­men­tal assets, needs and risks. 

DEW analysed this data to explore areas for improve­ment in the man­age­ment of the lakes into the future and inte­grat­ed the community’s val­ues and needs into a doc­u­ment that pro­pos­es a new way of man­ag­ing the lakes into the future. 

DEW invites feed­back from all sec­tions of the com­mu­ni­ty to ensure con­cerns and expec­ta­tions are well under­stood and con­sid­ered in decid­ing how the South East Coastal Lakes are man­aged into the future.

Here is a link to the pro­pos­al document.

You are invit­ed to have your say on the pro­pos­als through the Your­SAy website.

Con­sul­ta­tion will be open until Fri­day 28 July 2023.

Have ques­tions not cov­ered here? Con­tact us at DEWProtectedAreaManagement@​sa.​gov.​au.

Fre­quent­ly asked questions

What’s next

After all sub­mis­sions received from Phase two con­sul­ta­tion have been care­ful­ly con­sid­ered, a final pro­pos­al doc­u­ment will be pre­pared and for­ward­ed to the Min­is­ter for Cli­mate, Envi­ron­ment and Water for con­sid­er­a­tion togeth­er with a detailed analy­sis of sub­mis­sions received. 

Back­ground, relat­ed projects and fur­ther information

Select­ed back­ground infor­ma­tion includ­ing pre­vi­ous strate­gies, man­age­ment plans for parks adja­cent lakes, and migra­to­ry bird action plans relat­ed to the low­er lakes can be found below. 

Adja­cent parks man­age­ment plans 

Oth­er projects in the area

There are oth­er relat­ed projects and pro­grams hap­pen­ing in the area. The South East Coastal Lakes project aims to com­pli­ment those projects:

This com­mu­ni­ty engage­ment project is sup­port­ed by grant fund­ing from the Nature Conservancy.