Watervalley Wetlands

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Watervalley Wetlands
Australia South Australia relief location map.png
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Watervalley Wetlands
Location Murray and Mallee & Limestone Coast regions
South Australia [1]
Coordinates 36°28′0″S140°11′0″E / 36.46667°S 140.18333°E / -36.46667; 140.18333 Coordinates: 36°28′0″S140°11′0″E / 36.46667°S 140.18333°E / -36.46667; 140.18333 [2]
Basin  countries Australia
Managing agencyWetlands and Wildlife Trust
South Eastern Water Conservation and Drainage Board [2]
Designation Nationally important wetland [2]
Surface area56.6 square kilometres (21.9 sq mi) [2]
Surface elevation15 to 35 metres (49 to 115 ft) [2]
References [2]
The wetlands are an important site for sharp-tailed sandpipers Calidris acuminata P4278959.jpg
The wetlands are an important site for sharp-tailed sandpipers

The Watervalley Wetlands is a nationally important wetland system located in the Australian state of South Australia which consists of a series of contiguous wetlands, lying on 56.6 square kilometres (21.9 sq mi) of private land [2] between the Coorong National Park and Gum Lagoon Conservation Park, in the state's south-east. [1]

A Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia (DIWA) is a list of wetlands of national importance to Australia. Intended to augment the list of wetlands of international importance under the Ramsar Convention, it was formerly published in report form, but is now essentially an online publication. Wetlands that appear in the Directory are commonly referred to as "DIWA wetlands" or "Directory wetlands".

South Australia State of Australia

South Australia is a state in the southern central part of Australia. It covers some of the most arid parts of the country. With a total land area of 983,482 square kilometres (379,725 sq mi), it is the fourth-largest of Australia's states and territories by area, and fifth largest by population. It has a total of 1.7 million people, and its population is the second most highly centralised in Australia, after Western Australia, with more than 77 percent of South Australians living in the capital, Adelaide, or its environs. Other population centres in the state are relatively small; Mount Gambier, the second largest centre, has a population of 28,684.

Wetland A land area that is permanently or seasonally saturated with water

A wetland is a distinct ecosystem that is flooded by water, either permanently or seasonally, where oxygen-free processes prevail. The primary factor that distinguishes wetlands from other land forms or water bodies is the characteristic vegetation of aquatic plants, adapted to the unique hydric soil. Wetlands play a number of functions, including water purification, water storage, processing of carbon and other nutrients, stabilization of shorelines, and support of plants and animals. Wetlands are also considered the most biologically diverse of all ecosystems, serving as home to a wide range of plant and animal life. Whether any individual wetland performs these functions, and the degree to which it performs them, depends on characteristics of that wetland and the lands and waters near it. Methods for rapidly assessing these functions, wetland ecological health, and general wetland condition have been developed in many regions and have contributed to wetland conservation partly by raising public awareness of the functions and the ecosystem services some wetlands provide.



The wetlands comprise Mandina Marshes, Mandina Lake, Cortina Lakes, Mrs Whites Lagoon, Caora and South Flagstaff, which form a chain between relict dune systems inland of the Coorong, about 250 km south-east of Adelaide. The water in the wetlands ranges from fresh to saline according to seasonal conditions. The area has a Mediterranean climate with cool, wet winters and warm, dry summers, and with an average annual rainfall of 450-500 mm. Most of the land is owned by Wetlands & Wildlife, a private conservation and land rehabilitation company, with the remainder expected to become the property of the company in due course. [3]

Mediterranean climate Type of climate

A Mediterranean climate or dry summer climate is characterized by dry summers and mild, wet winters. The climate receives its name from the Mediterranean Basin, where this climate type is most common. Mediterranean climate zones are typically located along the western sides of continents, between roughly 30 and 45 degrees north and south of the equator. The main cause of Mediterranean, or dry summer climate, is the subtropical ridge which extends northwards during the summer and migrates south during the winter due to increasing north-south temperature differences.



The site has been identified as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International because it supports over 1% of the world populations of sharp-tailed sandpipers, and sometimes of blue-billed and musk ducks, when water levels are suitable. It also provides habitat for diamond firetails. [4] Other birds of conservation significance present at the wetlands include black-backed and Australasian bitterns, freckled ducks, Australasian shovellers, white-bellied sea-eagles, peregrine falcons, Latham's snipes, Baillon’s and spotless crakes, yellow-tailed black cockatoos, southern emu-wrens, chestnut-rumped heathwrens, diamond and beautiful firetails, and black-chinned honeyeaters. The wetlands also support large breeding colonies of several thousand ibises, egrets, spoonbills and cormorants. [3]

Important Bird Area area recognized as being globally important habitat for the conservation of birds populations

An Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) is an area identified using an internationally agreed set of criteria as being globally important for the conservation of bird populations.

BirdLife International is a global partnership of conservation organisations that strives to conserve birds, their habitats, and global biodiversity, working with people towards sustainability in the use of natural resources. It is the world's largest partnership of conservation organisations, with over 120 partner organisations.

Sharp-tailed sandpiper species of bird

The sharp-tailed sandpiper is a small wader.

Other animals

The site is home to red-necked wallabies and common wombats at the extreme western limit of their range. Rosenberg's goannas are present. Growling grass frogs and Yarra pygmy perch have been recorded. [3]

Red-necked wallaby species of mammal

The red-necked wallaby or Bennett's wallaby is a medium-sized macropod marsupial (wallaby), common in the more temperate and fertile parts of eastern Australia, including Tasmania. Red-necked wallabies have been introduced to several other countries, including New Zealand, England, Scotland, Ireland, France and the Isle of Man.

Common wombat the only species of wombat in Tasmania

The common wombat, also known as the coarse-haired wombat or bare-nosed wombat, is a marsupial, one of three extant species of wombats and the only one in the genus Vombatus. The common wombat grows to an average of 98 cm (39 in) long and a weight of 26 kg (57 lb).

Rosenbergs monitor species of reptile

Rosenberg's monitor refers to Varanus rosenbergi, an Australia species of varanid reptile found in southern regions of the continent. They are large and fast predators with rugged bodies and long tails, having a combined length up to 1.5 metres, that will consume any smaller animal that is pursued and captured or found while foraging. They occur in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria, where it may be rare or locally common, and more frequently observed in Western Australia, where it is sometime abundant.

Related Research Articles

Coorong National Park Protected area in South Australia

The Coorong National Park is a protected area located in South Australia about 156 kilometres (97 mi) southeast of Adelaide and that predominantly covers a lagoon ecosystem officially known as the Coorong and the Younghusband Peninsula on the Coorong's southern side.

Lake Alexandrina (South Australia) Estuarine lagoon in South Australia, forming part of the Murray River mouth

Lake Alexandrina is a freshwater lake located in the Fleurieu and Kangaroo Island and Murray Mallee regions of South Australia, adjacent to the coast of the Southern Ocean, about 100 kilometres (62 mi) south-east of Adelaide. The lake adjoins the smaller Lake Albert; together they are known as the Lower Lakes.

Macquarie Marshes wetland in Australia

The Macquarie Marshes comprise the wetlands associated with the floodplains of the Macquarie River and its tributaries, in northern New South Wales, Australia. The Macquarie River and the marshes eventually drain into the Darling River. The marshes are important as a breeding site for waterbirds, especially in the aftermath of major floods.

Lake Albert (South Australia) lake in South Australia

Lake Albert, also known by its Ngarrindjeri name, Yarli, is a notionally fresh water lake near the mouth of the Murray River in South Australia. It is filled by water flowing in from the larger Lake Alexandrina at its mouth near Narrung. It is separated on the south by the Narrung Peninsula from the salt-water Coorong. The only major town on the lake is Meningie. Lakes Alexandrina and Albert are together known as the Lower Lakes.

Tuggerah Lakes

The Tuggerah Lakes, a wetland system of three interconnected coastal lagoons, are located on the Central Coast of New South Wales, Australia and comprise Lake Munmorah, Budgewoi Lake and Tuggerah Lake.

Diamond firetail species of estrildid finch

The diamond firetail is a species of estrildid finch that is endemic to Australia.

Goyder Lagoon Swamp in South Australia

The Goyder Lagoon is a large ephemeral swamp in the Australian state of South Australia in the state's Far North region. The lake is part of the Diamantina River floodplain, lying beside the Birdsville Track close to the state border with Queensland.

Gulf St Vincent Important Bird Area

The Gulf St Vincent Important Bird Area comprises land extending along the coast of Gulf St Vincent, north of Adelaide, South Australia.

Gum Lagoon Conservation Park Protected area in South Australia

Gum Lagoon Conservation Park is an 8765 ha protected area about 40 km south-west of Keith in the Limestone Coast region of South Australia. It lies about 20 km inland from the southern end of the Coorong. It contains an isolated block of mallee woodland important for malleefowl conservation.

Murrumbidgee Red Gums Important Bird Area Important Bird Area in New South Wales, Australia

The Murrumbidgee Red Gums Important Bird Area comprises a 2451 km2 discontinuous linear tract of land stretching along the Murrumbidgee River west, and downstream, from Wagga Wagga in the Riverina region of New South Wales, Australia. It includes riverine red gum forest with adjacent woodland and farmland. It adjoins the Riverina Plains Important Bird Area.

Narran Wetlands Protected area in New South Wales, Australia

The Narran Wetlands, also known as the Narran Lakes, contained within the Narran Lakes Nature Reserve, comprise a series of protected ephemeral lakes and swamps fed by the Narran River in the north-west of New South Wales, Australia. The 26,480-hectare (65,400-acre) reserve is located approximately 50 kilometres (31 mi) east of Brewarrina.

Natimuk-Douglas Wetlands

The Natimuk-Douglas Wetlands comprise a chain of freshwater, brackish and saline wetlands in the semi-arid Wimmera region of western Victoria. Australia. They are important for waterbirds.

North Victorian Wetlands

The North Victorian Wetlands, also known as the Kerang Wetlands, comprise an extensive series of over 100 freshwater, brackish and saline lakes and swamps on the floodplain of the Loddon River where it enters the Murray valley, in the vicinity of the town of Kerang, in northern Victoria, south-eastern Australia. They are important for a variety, and sometimes large numbers, of waterbirds.

Riverland Mallee Important Bird Area

The Riverland Mallee Important Bird Area comprises a 12,200 square kilometres tract of mallee habitat and riverine woodland extending from near Waikerie in the Riverland region in eastern South Australia north-eastwards into south-western New South Wales.

Traprock Important Bird Area Important Bird Area in Queensland, Australia

The Traprock Important Bird Area comprises a 627 km2 tract of land in the Darling Downs region of south-eastern Queensland, Australia.

Two Peoples Bay and Mount Manypeaks Important Bird Area Important Bird Area in Western Australia

The Two Peoples Bay and Mount Manypeaks Important Bird Area is a 261 km2 tract of coastal and subcoastal land east of the city of Albany in south-west Western Australia. It is an important site for the conservation of several rare and threatened birds.

Werribee and Avalon Important Bird Area Important Bird Area in Victoria, Australia

The Werribee and Avalon Important Bird Area comprises some 37 km2 of coastal land along the northwestern shore of Port Phillip in the state of Victoria, in southeastern Australia. It is important for a wide variety of waterbirds.

Yambuk Important Bird Area Important Bird Area in Victoria, Australia

The Yambuk Important Bird Area comprises a 10 km2 tract of coastal land fronting Bass Strait in south-western Victoria, south-eastern Australia. It lies some 20 km west of the town of Port Fairy and encompasses the lower reaches of the Eumeralla River and Lake Yambuk.

Bellarine Wetlands Important Bird Area Important Bird Area in Victoria, Australia

The Bellarine Wetlands Important Bird Area comprises a group of wetland sites, with a collective area of 46 km2, at the western end of the Bellarine Peninsula in Victoria, south-eastern Australia. The site is important for waterbirds and orange-bellied parrots.

Barmah-Millewa Important Bird Area Important Bird Area in New South Wales, Australia

The Barmah-Millewa Important Bird Area is a 2635 km2 tract of land in south-eastern Australia which has been identified by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area (IBA) because of its significance for the conservation of a range of bird species.


  1. 1 2 "Search result for Watervalley Wetlands with the following layers selected - 'suburbs', "NPWSA properties', 'State Gov Regions' and 'Wetlands of National Importance'". NatureMaps. Government of South Australia. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 de Jong,, M.C. (1995). "Search result for 'Watervalley Wetlands - SA064'". Australian Wetlands Database » Directory of Important Wetlands. Australian government. Retrieved 28 December 2017.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  3. 1 2 3 BirdLife International. (2011). Important Bird Areas factsheet: Watervalley Wetlands. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 2011-11-21.
  4. "Important Bird Areas factsheet: Gum Lagoon". BirdLife International. 2015. Retrieved 17 September 2015.