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  • SA Murray-Darling Basin Regional Action Plan - Meningie-Tailem Bend subregion 1

  • SA Murray-Darling Basin Regional Action Plan - Meningie-Tailem Bend subregion 2

    March 2017

    This document should be cited as:

    South Australian Murray-Darling Basin Natural Resources Management Board, 2017. Regional Action Plan: A guide to natural

    resource management priorities in the South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, Meningie Tailem Bend subregion summary.

    URL: www.naturalresources.sa.gov.au/samurraydarlingbasin-rap

    For more information about this plan please contact:

    South Australian Murray-Darling Basin Natural Resources Management Board

    PO Box 2343

    Murray Bridge SA 5253

    Phone: (08) 8532 9100

    Email: [email protected]

    Website: www.naturalresources.sa.gov.au/samurraydarlingbasin-rap

    The South Australian Murray-Darling Basin Natural Resources Management Board and the Government of South Australia, their

    employees and their servants do not warrant, or make any representation, regarding the use or results of the information

    contain herein as to its correctness, accuracy, currency or otherwise. The South Australian Murray-Darling Basin Natural

    Resources Management Board and the Government of South Australia, their employees and their servants expressly disclaim all

    liability or responsibility to any person using the information or advice herein.

    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

    http://www.naturalresources.sa.gov.au/samurraydarlingbasin-rapmailto:[email protected]://www.naturalresources.sa.gov.au/samurraydarlingbasin-raphttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

  • SA Murray-Darling Basin Regional Action Plan - Meningie-Tailem Bend subregion 3

    The diverse soils, water resources, biodiversity and landscapes of the SA Murray-

    Darling Basin (SAMDB) are the foundation of many of the things we value; our

    livelihoods, lifestyles and our wellbeing.

    We all play a role in managing these natural resources.

    About this document

    This document is a summary of the Meningie-Tailem Bend subregion of the Regional Action Plan for the South

    Australian Murray-Darling Basin Natural Resources Management region. It contains an overview of the subregion,

    what is valued about the area, information on its landscapes, livelihoods and lifestyles, and a list of the natural

    resources management issues, including their impacts and their priority status. For more detail on specific issues

    and suggested actions to address them or to find out more about how the plan was developed, please follow the

    links in this document or visit the Regional Action Plan online at

    www.naturalresources.sa.gov.au/samurraydarlingbasin-rap.

    Figure 1: Location of the Meningie-Tailem Bend subregion

    http://www.naturalresources.sa.gov.au/samurraydarlingbasin-rap

  • SA Murray-Darling Basin Regional Action Plan - Meningie-Tailem Bend subregion 4

    What do we value about this area?

    Lifestyle values: rural-living, family history, understanding each other, strong community cohesion and water-

    related activities61, 69

    Natural beauty and spiritual values of the Ramsar wetlands63, 64, 65

    Secure freshwater supplies from the Lower Lakes for domestic and industrial use69

    Cultural, social and economic values of the Ngarrindjeri People113

    Agricultural production from dryland farming; cropping and grazing69

    Commercial and recreational fishing64,69

    Tourism associated with Ramsar wetlands85, European and indigenous history

    Biodiversity conservation.64, 66, 67, 69

    Meningie - Tailem Bend subregion Overview

    The Meningie-Tailem Bend subregion

    comprises the agricultural lands on the eastern

    side of Lakes Alexandrina and Albert and the

    Coorong within the SAMDB region. The main

    towns in the area are Meningie and Tailem

    Bend, which are socially distinct from the

    communities centred around Milang, Clayton

    and Goolwa. However, this area is also a part of

    the Lake Alexandrina and Lake Albert Ramsar

    Wetland of International Importance.64 The

    Ngarrindjeri are the Traditional Owners of this

    sub region113 and the area is almost wholly

    within the Ngarrindjeri and Others Native Title

    Claim area.114 Detailed information on

    Ngarrindjeri values and perspectives can be

    found in the Ngarrindjeri Nation Yarluwar-Ruwe Plan.65

    The agriculture and tourism of the Meningie-Tailem Bend subregion is centred on the Lower River Murray, the

    Lower Lakes and the Coorong. As such, the key water resources are the surface water inflows from the River

    Murray. Groundwater resources are also significant, with use depending on quality and depth. The naturally63, 65

    freshwaters of the Lower Lakes are separated from the estuarine-marine environments of the Coorong and

    Murray Mouth by a series of five barrages, which are operated for ecological, social and economic benefit72. Tidal

    variations are important for water quality in the estuary and connectivity in the estuarine-marine components.

    Prior to the Millennium Drought, the area supported substantial irrigated dairy farming but the lasting impacts of

    that drought and commodity prices have seen a shift to dryland farming although some irrigated dairy farms

    remain.69

    The Lower Lakes and Coorong have exceptional ecological diversity and functions, qualifying against 8 out of 9

    criteria as a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance (first listed in 1985).64 As such, Australia has accepted a

    range of obligations in relation to protecting these wetlands, including the ecosystem services they provide, and

    managing the impacts of major water-based tourism and multi-species fishing (commercial and recreational)

    industries.64

    SATC, Ferry on River, Tailem Bend, Photographer: John Montesi

  • SA Murray-Darling Basin Regional Action Plan - Meningie-Tailem Bend subregion 5

    Socio-economic drivers of

    change

    Markets/commodity prices

    Basin-wide weather patterns

    Climate change (affecting amount

    and variability of rainfall and lake

    inflows)

    Basin-wide water extraction and use

    (affecting water quantity and quality).

    SATC, Sand dunes, Coorong National Park, Photographer: Mike Haines

  • SA Murray-Darling Basin Regional Action Plan - Meningie-Tailem Bend subregion 6

    Profile of the Meningie Tailem Bend subregion

    Landscapes

    The Meningie-Tailem Bend subregion comprises

    corridor plains between relict coastal dunes,

    adjacent to the lakes.78 The lakes are freshwater and

    provide an important biophysical transition between

    the River Murray, the Coorong and the Southern

    Ocean.72 Rainfall is low to moderate (350-500mm),

    hence there is a heavy reliance on the freshwaters of

    the river and lakes. The bulk of the surface water is

    received from the River Murray, which is transferred

    between Lakes Alexandrina and Albert through a

    narrow channel, the Narrung Narrows. Lake Albert is

    typically more saline than Lake Alexandrina, which

    can affect its usefulness for irrigation.77 Water of

    varying volumes and salinities flow into the

    southern end of the Coorong from the Upper

    South-East Drainage Scheme, outside of this

    subregion.

    Many of the values of the Meningie Tailem Bend

    subregion are closely tied to the ecological, cultural

    and economic values of the Lower Lakes and

    Coorong, a Ramsar-listed wetland ecosystem of

    international and national imporatance.64, 65, 69, 72

    The many ecological values of the Lower Lakes and

    Coorong are noted in the summary document for

    that subregion within the Regional Action Plan.

    The Meningie Tailem Bend subregion crosses the

    Southern Mallee and Tintinara biophysical

    landscapes. Once dominated by open and shrubby

    mallee woodlands, native vegetation of this

    subregion is now 'relictual' - cleared to less than 10

    per cent of its original extent. Prominent canopy

    species of remnant vegetation include cypress pine

    (Callitris gracilis), and mallee eucalypts (such as

    Eucalyptus gracilis and E. oleosa). A number of

    Heritage Agreements exist in this area, providing

    protection for remnant mallee woodlands and

    grasslands.87 These ecosystems are at risk due to

    historic clearance and fragmentation, threatening a

    number of species including malleefowl (Leipoa

    ocellata), metallic sun orchid (Thelymitra

    epipactoides), sand hill greenhood (Pterostylis

    arenicola), and a suite of woodland bird species

    including hooded robin (Melanodryas cucullata),

    brown treecreeper (Climacteris picumnus) and

    restless flycatcher (Myiagra inquieta).69 A total of 33

    state listed threatened flora species and 79 state

    listed threatened fauna species have been recorded

    in the Meningie - Tailem Bend subregion. Seven

    flora and 20 fauna species are also listed nationally

    under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity

    Conservation Act 1999. A full list of threatened

    species found in this subregion can be downloaded

    here. Recovery plans have been developed at a

    national or regional level for some threatened

    species and ecological communities, in