Aldinga Washpool to become a protected area

Published on 21 June 2021

Aldinga Washpool to become a protected area

Aldinga Washpool, one of Adelaide’s last remaining coastal freshwater and estuarine lagoon systems, will form part of a new conservation park at Aldinga following a state government announcement.

The Washpool land—which is of considerable spiritual and cultural significance to the Kaurna people and is home to a wide range of native species of conservation significance—will be combined with the adjacent Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park to create one new conservation park.

City of Onkaparinga Mayor Erin Thompson called the decision a huge win for the Onkaparinga region and anyone who loves the Washpool area.

“The City of Onkaparinga has been advocating strongly on behalf of the community for many years to secure the future of the Washpool and surrounding land,” she said.

“My sincere thanks to the tireless efforts of local community and environment groups who’ve supported on this journey, providing their energy and support through advocacy and on-ground conservation activities.

“I thank Minister Speirs for this decision which represents a strong commitment to conservation, culture and the environment.

“The Aldinga Washpool area can now continue providing environmental, cultural, social and economic benefits for generations to come.

“However, there are still areas of land adjacent the washpool zone that are marked as “subject to further consideration for inclusion in the conservation park” on the state government’s proposed park map (attached).

“Both Council and our community agree that all land in the area should be included in the park, including these zones.

“Given the cultural significance of the Washpool, the City of Onkaparinga also recognises the important opportunity the proclamation of the park presents for co-management with Kaurna representatives.

“Through their community co-design process, we urge the state government to discuss the potential of involving Traditional Owners in the management of the park.

“We look forward to working alongside all stakeholders involved in the co-design process in shaping a management plan for the area.”

Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs said the announcement was a significant moment for the local community who have been championing for the Aldinga Washpool to be protected for decades.

“The Marshall Liberal Government is committed to improving conservation and increasing the amount of open, green space available for people to explore and by combining the Aldinga Washpool land with the nearby Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park we will create a fantastic ecological and cultural haven just south of Adelaide,” he said.

“This follows the creation of Adelaide’s second metropolitan national park at Glenthorne and builds on our government’s record investment in open space and our historic push to increase the amount of space protected as national parks across the state.

“In 2018, a Washpool Working Group was established, and we have been working closely with this group to ensure the land’s cultural and environmental values be protected and restored.

“The Department for Environment and Water, SA Water, Green Adelaide, City of Onkaparinga and other members of the working group have been working on flood mitigation, stormwater management, weed control, revegetation plans, water quality and protection of Aboriginal cultural heritage.

“We will now work with the local community about the future management, and a planning process will commence next year to consolidate hydrological, ecological, and cultural work done so far.”

Recognising its cultural and environmental significance, and that it’s now surplus to SA Water operational requirements, the entirety of the Aldinga Washpool land has been transferred, encompassing five allotments totalling 31.64 hectares. There is also a mix of State Government tenures in the process of being transferred.

When complete, the total area of land added to park will be about 74 hectares.

Green Adelaide and the City of Onkaparinga have been working to restore the Aldinga Washpool through a five-year Aldinga Washpool Revegetation Project, which has seen tens-of-thousands of native seedlings planted at the site with local Kaurna people.

Intensive replanting of Gahnia filum, or Thatching Grass, last year allowed for the successful reintroduction of the locally extinct Yellowish Sedge Skipper butterfly, which was last seen on the Adelaide Plans around the late 1980s.