Waltowa Wetland MANAGEMENT PLAN 2005

Written By: Kjartan Tumi Bjornsson

LAPS
Lower Murray Local Action Planning Groups Coorong District LAP Goolwa to Wellington LAP Mannum to Wellington LAP Mid Murray LAP

Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

TABLE OF CONTENTS
TABLE OF CONTENTS ................................................................................................................... i LIST OF FIGURES...................................................................................................................... iii LIST OF MAPS ........................................................................................................................... iii LIST OF TABLES ....................................................................................................................... iv Chapter 1. (a) (a) (b) (c) (d) Chapter 2. INTRODUCTION ..................................................................................................... 1 Environmental, Social and Cultural Significance of wetland ............................. 1 Why does Waltowa wetland need a management plan? .................................. 3 History of Waltowa wetland.......................................................................................... 2 Mission Statement ....................................................................................................... 4 Vision Statement ......................................................................................................... 4 Broad Objectives ......................................................................................................... 4 Current Achievements ................................................................................................. 5 SITE DESCRIPTION OF WALTOWA WETLAND .................................................... 7 Wetland Location and description .................................................................... 7 Survey Sites, Dates & Locations ...................................................................... 8 PHYSICAL FEATURES ................................................................................. 10 Section 1.01 Section 1.02

Section 2.01 Section 2.02 Section 2.03 (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (a) (b) Chapter 3. Chapter 4.

Waltowa Wetland in Current Dry State....................................................................... 10 Waltowa Wetland in Past Wet State .......................................................................... 11 Geomorphology, Geology And Soils .......................................................................... 12 Climate ...................................................................................................................... 12 Wetland Volumes and Water Requirements for various filling stages ........................ 12 Surface and Groundwater Features ............................................................................... 14 ECOLOGICAL FEATURES ............................................................................ 16 Flora .......................................................................................................................... 16 Fauna ........................................................................................................................ 17 SOCIAL ECONOMIC AND CULTURAL VALUES .................................................. 22 LAND TENURE, JURISDICTION AND MANAGEMENT ARRANGEMENTS ......... 23 LAND TENURE .............................................................................................. 23 LAND AND WATER USE ............................................................................... 23 JURISDICTION AND MANAGEMENT AUTHORITY ...................................... 23

Section 2.04

Section 4.01 Section 4.02 Section 4.03 Chapter 5. Chapter 6. Chapter 7.

THREATS AND POTENTIAL SOLUTIONS TO WALTOWA WETLAND ................ 27 MANAGEMENT OBJECTIVES .............................................................................. 30 IMPLEMENTATION OF PLAN ............................................................................... 33 ON GROUND ACTION AND TIMETABLE ..................................................... 33 WETLAND WATER OPERATIONAL PLAN ................................................... 37

Section 7.01 Section 7.02 (a) (b) Chapter 8.

Hydrology Regime Options Year 1............................................................................. 40 Hydrology Regime Options Year 2............................................................................. 41 MONITORING ....................................................................................................... 46 i

Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005 Chapter 9. EVALUATION, REVIEW AND REPORTING .......................................................... 48 Evaluation and Review ................................................................................... 48 Reporting ....................................................................................................... 48 Section 9.01 Section 9.02 Chapter 10. Appendix A. Appendix B. Appendix C. Appendix D. Appendix E. Appendix F.

REFERENCES ...................................................................................................... 49 Wetlands Atlas Data for Wetland Main Body .......................................................... 52 Baseline Survey Locations (Source SKM (2004).................................................... 53 Baseline Survey DEM (Source SKM (2004) ........................................................... 54 Baseline Survey Groundwater Bore Logs & Flow Direction .................................... 55 Baseline Survey Vegetation Zones ........................................................................ 62 Species List for Waltowa Wetland .......................................................................... 63 FLORA ........................................................................................................... 63 WETLAND AND FLOODPLAIN FAUNA ......................................................... 64

Section F.01 Section F.02 (a) (b) (c)

Birds of Waltowa Surrounds and Lower Lakes ........................................................... 64 Macroinvertebrates .................................................................................................... 65 Frogs ......................................................................................................................... 66 Water Allocation Requirement: Option Dependent ............................................. 67

Appendix G.

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Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1: Culvert on wetland side of highway. (Wpp4) .................................................................... 6 Figure 2: Looking at the wetland from the highway (culvert in foreground). (Wpp4) ........................ 6 Figure 3: Culvert on Lake Albert side of highway with flow control structure. Fish grill presently not fitted. (Wpp4)........................................................................................................................... 6 Figure 4: Looking at the inflow channel from Lake Albert. The culvert is in the foreground. (Wpp4) 6 Figure 5: Photo Point 1 (Wpp1) ..................................................................................................... 10 Figure 6: Photo Point 1 (Wpp1) ..................................................................................................... 10 Figure 7: Photo Point 2 (Wpp2) ..................................................................................................... 10 Figure 8: Photo Point 2 (Wpp2) ..................................................................................................... 10 Figure 9: Photo Point 2 (Wpp2) ..................................................................................................... 10 Figure 10: Photo Point 2 (Wpp2) ................................................................................................... 10 Figure 11: Photo Point 3 (Wpp3) ................................................................................................... 11 Figure 12: Photo Point 3 (Wpp3) ................................................................................................... 11 Figure 13: Photo Point 3 (Wpp3) .................................................................................................. 11 Figure 14: Photo Point 3 (Wpp3) ................................................................................................... 11 Figure 15: Waltowa wetland wet ................................................................................................... 11 Figure 16: Waltowa wetland wet ................................................................................................... 11 Figure 17: Waltowa wetland culvert with fish screen ..................................................................... 12 Figure 18: Waltowa wetland lake side of culvert ............................................................................ 12 Figure 19: Area of Waltowa used for volume estimates (SKM 2004) ............................................. 13 Figure 20: Juncus acutus .............................................................................................................. 27 Figure 21: Juncus acutus (detail) .................................................................................................. 27 Figure 22: Lake levels Mean Max., Mean Min. and Median (Max. and Min.) ................................. 37 Figure 23: Decision Support Framework (DSF) for Waltowa wetland ............................................ 39 Figure 24: Water regime scenario for Waltowa wetland - Year 1 ................................................... 40 Figure 25: Water regime scenario for Waltowa wetland - Year 2, Option 1 ................................... 41 Figure 26: Water regime scenario for Waltowa wetland - Year 2, Option 2 ................................... 42 Figure 27: Water regime scenario for Waltowa wetland - Year 2, Option 3 ................................... 43 Figure 28: Water regime scenario for Waltowa wetland - Year 2, Option 4 ................................... 44 Figure 29: Water Allocation Requirement over a year for each hydrology regime option ............... 67

LIST OF MAPS
Map 1: Waltowa Location ................................................................................................................ 7 Map 2: Map of Wetland Complex (Waltowa Photo location (Wpp)) ................................................. 9 Map 3: Expected water movement within Waltowa wetland .......................................................... 15 Map 4: Cadastral boundaries covering Waltowa wetland and surrounds. ...................................... 24 Map 5: Waltowa Stock Fences ...................................................................................................... 26 Map 6: Groundwater investigation sites within Waltowa wetland. .................................................. 35 iii

Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

LIST OF TABLES
Table 1: Baseline survey monitoring of following parameters (SKM 2004) ...................................... 8 Table 2: Photo point locations ......................................................................................................... 8 Table 3: Summary of wetland basin volumes within Waltowa wetland (adapted from (SKM 2004)) .............................................................................................................................................. 13 Table 4: Water Quality (SKM 2004) .............................................................................................. 14 Table 5: Groundwater Monitoring Locations (SKM 2004) .............................................................. 15 Table 6: Habitat Features Identified in Waltowa wetland table adapted from (SKM 2004). ............ 17 Table 7: Native fish ....................................................................................................................... 20 Table 8: Introduced fish................................................................................................................. 21 Table 9: Waltowa wetland responsible positions contact details.................................................... 23 Table 10: Land Tenure .................................................................................................................. 25 Table 11: Existing and prospective threats to Waltowa wetland .................................................... 28 Table 12: Management objectives for Waltowa wetland. ............................................................... 31 Table 13: New Photo points and Piezometer Locations ................................................................ 34 Table 14: Implementation plan for Waltowa wetland land based activities..................................... 36 Table 15: Hydrological Operational Plan for Waltowa Wetland and Water Allocation Requirements Depending on Options........................................................................................................... 45 Table 16: Monitoring plan for Waltowa wetland. ............................................................................ 47 Table 17: Waltowa wetland, Wetland atlas data (Jensen et al. 1996) ............................................ 52 Table 18: Plant Associations at Waltowa wetland (adapted from River Murray Wetlands Baseline Survey (SKM 2004)) .............................................................................................................. 63 Table 19: Water birds at 23 sites bordering Lakes Alexandrina and Albert (adapted from (Gosbell 2004)) ................................................................................................................................... 64 Table 20: Macroinvertebrate taxa and abundance (SKM 2004)..................................................... 65 Table 21: Frogs recorded at Waltowa (SKM 2004)........................................................................ 66

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This management plan was written by Kjartan Tumi Bjornsson for the Coorong District Local Action Plan Committee, and reviewed and endorsed by the SA River Murray Wetland Technical Group. Funding was provided by the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality, the National Heritage Trust, and the River Murray Catchment Water Management Board. The management plan has been prepared according to the Guidelines for developing wetland management plans for the River Murray in South Australia 2003 (River Murray Catchment Water Management Board and Department of Water Land and Biodiversity Conservation 2003) and as such fulfils obligations under the Water Allocation Plan for the River Murray Prescribed Watercourse. Disclaimer: The Coorong District Local Action Plan Committee do not guarantee that the publication is without flaw of any kind or is wholly appropriate for your particular purposes and therefore disclaim all liability for any error, loss or other consequences which may arise from you relying on any information in this publication. Cite as: Bjornsson, K. T. (2005). Waltowa Wetland Management Plan. Coorong District Local Action Plan Committee, Tintinara. Acknowledgements: This wetland management plan has been developed with the support of a number of organisations, community groups and individuals. Special thanks go to Adrienne Frears and Jem Tesoriero for assistance with the draft. Thanks also go to those that contributed their knowledge including, Ian Jolly and Kate Holland (groundwater), Jason Nicol (vegetation), Adrienne Frears (monitoring plan), Jem Tesoriero (historical knowledge and local knowledge), Scotte Wedderburn (fish), David Dadd (birds) Tom Trevorrow and Matt Rigney both Ngarrindjeri elders (traditional landowner cultural values), the Waltowa wetland surrounding landowners the River Murray Catchment Water Management Board and the members of the South Australian River Murray Wetland Technical Group. For further details contact: Coorong District LAP PO Box 1021 Tintinara SA 5266 Phone: (08) 8757 2100 Fax: (08) 8757 2222 Photographs: Cover photograph: Top Waltowa wetland dry (Tumi Bjornsson), Bottom Waltowa wetland wet (Jem Tesoriero) Photographs in document Figure 15 to Figure 18 by Jem Tesoriero, remainder by Tumi Bjornsson. © Coorong District Local Action Plan 2005

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Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

Chapter 1. INTRODUCTION
Since the adoption of the Water Allocation Plan for the River Murray in 2002 the wetlands of South Australia have an annual water allocation of 200GL. To access this water allocation for wetland management, a licence is now required. The allocation of water required for Waltowa wetland is mainly in response to Section 5.1. Objectives of the Water Allocation Plan for the River Murray (River Murray Catchment Water Management Board 2002) Principle: 2 “Provide for the water needs of water-dependent ecosystems” and 6(e) “Provide for the allocation and use of water to prevent adverse impacts on the health, biodiversity status of habitat value of floodplains, or wetlands of conservation significance” Waltowa wetland is listed as a wetland of conservation significance in the Water Allocation Plan for the River Murray (River Murray Catchment Water Management Board 2002). This wetland management plan is structured in accordance with the criteria set out in the Guidelines for developing wetland management plans for the River Murray in South Australia (River Murray Catchment Water Management Board and Department of Water Land and Biodiversity Conservation 2003).

SECTION 1.01 ENVIRONMENTAL, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL SIGNIFICANCE OF WETLAND
The Wetland Atlas of the South Australian Murray Valley (Jensen et al. 1996) listed Waltowa wetland as having a high conservation value and to be of international, national, basin and local importance (see Appendix A on page 52). Australia is a signatory to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of National and International Significance and was the first nation to establish a Ramsar site. Ramsar listing recognises the importance of wetlands on an international scale on the basis of ecological, botanical, zoological, limnological or hydrological criteria with includes the role a wetland plays as a waterbird habitat (National Wetlands Program 1998; Bjornsson et al. 2002). Waltowa is within the Ramsar area “The Coorong, Lake Alexandrina and Lake Albert” listed 1st November 1985 (National Wetlands Program 1998), which provide habitats for a number of water birds including migratory species (see box). A part of the vision statement for the Coorong, and Lakes Alexandrina and Albert Ramsar Management Plan includes the protection and restoration of natural habitats and the restoration of viable native species ("Coorong, and Lakes Alexandrina and Albert Ramsar Management Plan" 2000), this management plan is a contribution towards this vision.
“The Coorong, Lake Alexandrina & Lake Albert. 01/11/85; South Australia; 140,500 ha; 35º40‟S 139º00‟E. National Park, Game Reserves and Crown Land; Shorebird Network Site. A saline to hypersaline lagoon separated from the ocean by a dune peninsula and connected to two lakes forming a wetland system at the river‟s mouth. The lakes contain fresh to brackish water. The site is of international importance for migratory waterbirds, providing habitat for more than 30% of the waders summering in Australia. The site includes important nesting colonies of cormorants, herons, egrets, ibises and terns. The globally endangered Orange-bellied Parrot (Neophema chrysogaster) over-winters on the reserve. Human activities include camping, boating and regulated duck hunting. The area is noted for its extensive aboriginal, historic and geological sites. Ramsar site no. 321.” (Peck 2000).

As part of the Management of Wetlands of the River Murray Valley Draft Action Plan 1996-1999 (South Australian River Murray Wetlands Management Committee 1996), Waltowa was listed as the fourth highest rank priority for maintenance or rehabilitation of wetlands of the South Australian River Murray Valley. Thompson (1986) recommends further study of Fauna during flooding of Waltowa wetland as he would expect species to be recorded which are not found elsewhere in the
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Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

region. He classifies Waltowa wetland as having a high conservation value and recommends its inclusion in a conservation park of the area. The wetland has therefore seen ongoing recognition as a highly significant wetland environment, with local through to international importance. On an international level the main significance would be associated with the diverse habitat availability to migratory and local water birds. On a local level the influence of salinity and aesthetics are also an issue. The restoration of this wetland through the reintroduction of an appropriate water regime should therefore be a priority. (a) HISTORY OF WALTOWA WETLAND A short timeline of management at Waltowa wetland (some data from local anecdotal evidence): Until the mid 1960‟s Waltowa was in a healthy condition with many reeds, sedges etc. as well as many waterbirds including many swan nests (Trevorrow and Rigney 2005). Used for swan egg collection, turtle egg collection and other food sources by the Ngarrindjeri population (Trevorrow and Rigney 2005). Cyperus gymnocaulos collected for traditional basket weaving until wetland degradation 45 years ago (Trevorrow and Rigney 2005). Vegetation has not been observed on wetland bed (McClure 2005). Water table seems to have been dropping in surrounding area over past 15-20 years (Fiebig 2005; McClure 2005). Sedges have died off, as they no longer have access to the water table (McClure 2005). Apparent drop in salinity of the surrounding area (Fiebig 2005; McClure 2005). Until approximately 15 years ago there was a high density of lignum and reeds along the northern edge of the wetland. To the extent that P. Fiebig (2005) fenced of the area from stock as they would get lost in the vegetation. P. Fiebig (2005) noted that the previous landowner had excavated a channel from the wetland into his land, presumably to flood irrigate the pasture (50 to 60 years ago). This could indicate that the wetland water was reliably fresh. When the wetland has previously had water P. Fiebig (2005) did not notice any corresponding rise in salinity in the irrigation area. When flooding has occurred it has extended south from the wetland below the western half of the wetland covering approximately 300 acres (Wright 2005). No water has reached G.P. and R. C. Williams‟s property in past 20 years. This property is to the southwest area of the wetland (Williams and Williams 2005). The wetland was in the past fresh enough to be used as a watering point (McClure 2005). 1960‟s the wetland was inundated 3 of 4 years. The wetland has gradually become dryer (McClure 2005; Wright 2005). The water went to the back of the wetland (McClure 2005; Wright 2005). There were originally three pipes under the causeway (Princes Highway) until new culvert was installed (Gates 2005). According to WCA report Waltowa was potentially a semi-permanent wetland up until 1983 (plenty of ducks in 1950‟ &1960‟s) (Jensen 1999). Included in an environmental report by Pressey (1986). Pressey (1986) suggests the instillation of flow control on road culvert to manage wetland.
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Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

Landholder consultation in 1999 (Coorong District LAP et al. 1999) 1999 April - Reconstruction of pipe culvert under Princes Highway & instillation of flow barriers, including fish grills (Coorong District LAP et al. 1999). 1999 - Filling of Waltowa (Coorong District LAP et al. 1999): o Unintentional due to a lack of sluice gate o Unauthorised opening and then theft of gate, replaced with ill fitting gate o October high lake levels o Return of bird life due to flooding 1999 - 2000 Survey by Woodward Clyde (Jensen 1999). 1999 Management brief for Waltowa prepared by Wetland Care Australia (Coorong District LAP et al. 1999; Jensen 1999). 1999 – 2001 Some inundation of Waltowa wetland another two times (SKM 2004). 2000 mentioned in Coorong, and Lakes Alexandrina and Albert Ramsar Management Plan as an example of wetlands which need cooperation between landowners and managers for restoration ("Coorong, and Lakes Alexandrina and Albert Ramsar Management Plan" 2000) 2000 listed as critical Ramsar wetland habitat for waterfowl, waders and waterbirds ("Coorong, and Lakes Alexandrina and Albert Ramsar Management Plan" 2000) 2001 September – Close of flow barrier. 2002 Introduction of water restrictions and requirement of water licence for flooding a wetland (Water Allocation Plan for the River Murray 2002). Since then only rainwater has brought in water to the wetland (Wright 2005). 2003 - 2004 River Murray Wetlands Baseline Survey (SKM 2004). Landholder consultation in 2005 (8th June). A part of this wetland Management Plan development. 2005 17th June installation of additional piezometers.

SECTION 1.02 WHY DOES WALTOWA WETLAND NEED A MANAGEMENT PLAN?
The Waltowa wetland has over time been degraded to the extent that, information on the natural inundation or hydrological regime and the wetland condition is very scarce, and to a large part only anecdotal. Jensen (1999) reports that the wetland was semi permanent until 1983, with associated reeds and a high number of waterbirds. The water regime was at that time variable and dependent on the lake levels. Following a blockage of the causeway under the highway the wetland degraded from the early 1980‟s onwards, until the wetland became temporary. In 1999 a box culvert was installed under the Princes Highway along with a flow barrier (flow control structure) and a fish barrier. The wetland was at that time re-flooded, initiating the regeneration of reed beds and other fringing vegetation (Tesoriero 2005). Since the introduction of the Water Allocation Plan for the River Murray in 2002 (River Murray Catchment Water Management Board 2002) the wetland has remained dry, causing the wetland to dry out and the riparian vegetation, i.e. lignum (Muehlenbeckia florulenta), to become highly degraded. The box culvert and flow barrier already installed provide the opportunity of reinstating the permanent or semi-permanent nature of the wetland. It is anticipated that the reinstatement of the „assumed‟ natural water regime would restore the wetland fringing vegetation and aquatic (submerged and emergent) vegetation, and therefore provide habitat and breeding potential for associated wetland communities such as waterbirds, fish and amphibians.
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Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

(a) MISSION STATEMENT To restore the wetland condition and associated habitat values (wetland fringing and aquatic vegetation) for the benefit of waterbirds, native fish species and native vegetation. (b) VISION STATEMENT The vision for Waltowa wetland is a restored semi permanent wetland fulfilling a diversity of habitat requirements for both water birds and for native fish species. It is envisaged that the wetland will be a „healthy‟ shallow clear wetland with a high diversity of macrophytes (emergent and submerged) providing habitat for native fish and birds. The wetland would as a consequence be expected to have regular visits by water birds, including migratory species. The riparian area would be expected to be restored, both through active involvement with the removal of weed species and through the encouragement of the growth of the remaining fringing vegetation such as lignum as an upshot of the availability of fresh water. The restoration of the riparian areas through planting of Melaleucas and other suitable species would also be envisaged. Once the wetland restoration has been achieved through appropriate management of water regime and on ground works, the wetland would need to be maintained. The maintenance of a restored wetland, fulfilling the functions described above and without an adverse impact on adjacent farming operations, wetland and lake salinity or fish habitat requirements would involve regular monitoring and adequate timely response. The maintenance phase would require regular monitoring of water quality, bird life, fish and other aquatic dependent species as well as aquatic and fringing vegetation. (c) BROAD OBJECTIVES (i) Past Objectives Past objectives for Waltowa wetland were established in „Management of Wetlands of the River Murray Valley Draft Action Plan 1996 (South Australian River Murray Wetlands Management Committee 1996)‟. These objectives include: Improve hydrological management Baseline for future monitoring Prepare management plan for wise use of the Ramsar site Effectively the objectives were for the improvement of environmental health by reinstating flows into the wetland, with a flow regime consisting of relatively natural patterns of wetting and drying (see management brief (Jensen 1999)). There was an anticipated regeneration and breeding of native plants and animals as a consequence of the restored flow regime. A further objective was the revegetation of native fringing wetland vegetation. (ii) Present Objectives The current objectives remain similar to past objectives. However, the management of the wetland, due to a change in legislation, now requires a water licence for which a detailed operational management plan needs to be developed. The objectives listed below, and in detail in Chapter 6 on page 30, fulfil a number of the water allocation criteria from Section 5.3 of the Water Allocation Plan for the River Murray (River Murray Catchment Water Management Board 2002). Restore wetland (hydrological regime and water quality) Restore native aquatic and fringing vegetation Restore habitat diversity for water birds and aquatic wildlife: o Birds, assist to maintain diversity in the Ramsar area o Fish, increase abundance and maintain diversity
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Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

o Frogs, increase abundance and maintain (or increase) diversity (incidental in Waltowa wetland) o Tortoises, provide habitat (incidental in Waltowa wetland) Monitor the impact of restored hydrology regime and respond to minimise adverse impact (e.g. potential raising of saline groundwater under adjacent irrigation area, increase in wetland salinity or wetland turbidity) (d) CURRENT ACHIEVEMENTS The wetland has a constructed inlet in the form of a box culvert under the Princes highway, connecting the wetland to Lake Albert see Figure 1 to Figure 4 on page 6. This culvert was installed by Transport SA in April 1999 (Jensen 1999). It has a flow control structure (sluice gate) allowing the control of flows into the wetland. This flow control structure can be fitted with a fish exclusion grill (the appropriate one is under the care of the Coorong Council) to hinder large fish such as European Carp (Cyprinus carpio) from entering the wetland. The surrounding landholders have a grazing management plan implemented. The wetland shoreline has therefore been fenced off to exclude stock.

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Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

Figure 1: Culvert on wetland side of highway. (Wpp4)

Figure 2: Looking at the wetland from the highway (culvert in foreground). (Wpp4)

Figure 3: Culvert on Lake Albert side of highway with flow control structure. Fish grill presently not fitted. (Wpp4)

Figure 4: Looking at the inflow channel from Lake Albert. The culvert is in the foreground. (Wpp4)

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Chapter 2. SITE DESCRIPTION OF WALTOWA WETLAND
SECTION 2.01 WETLAND LOCATION AND DESCRIPTION
Waltowa wetland is listed as wetland number S0027 in the Wetlands Atlas (Jensen et al. 1996) and is part of the Lake Albert Fringing wetland complex. The wetland is located approximately 10 km north of Meningie within the Coorong District Council Area (Map 1 below). AMG coordinates 353883E 6059730 N (Grid Zone 54). Waltowa can be found on the 1:50,000 Meningie map sheet number 6726-1. See Appendix A for more information.

Map 1: Waltowa Location

The wetland is found in the Hundreds of Bonney and Malcolm, the main body (that which is considered for inundation) being within Bonney. The wetland complex is listed as having areas of both permanent and temporary water regimes and considered to cover an area of 821ha (Jensen et al. 1996), of which 236.7ha (area information obtained from River Murray Wetlands Baseline Survey (SKM 2004)) are to be considered for semi permanent inundation. The depth of Waltowa is regarded as very shallow with most of the wetland having a depth of 0.3m (0.5m in the deep sections) (SKM 2004). The wetland is separated from Lake Albert by a causeway, this being the Princes Highway. The connection between the wetland and Lake Albert is through a box culvert under the highway at 352877E and 6058194N. Waltowa wetland was classified as a back-basin by Pressey (1986) (see box). Seaman (2003) classified the habitat condition of Waltowa wetlands as good (see box).
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Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

“Littoral wetlands: areas of emergent vegetation, in many cases containing discrete basins of standing water, which fringe the lakes or which occur as „islands‟ on shallow banks within the lakes; Back Basin: essentially the same habitats as littoral wetlands except that they are largely surrounded by areas of high ground and linked to the lakes by relatively narrow openings;” (Pressey 1986)
“Vegetation structure significantly altered by very obvious signs of multiple disturbances. Retains basic vegetation structure or ability to regenerate it (e.g. disturbance to vegetation structure caused by very frequent grazing). Presence of aggressive weeds at high density (50 - 57%). Core habitat areas exist that are buffered by scattered remnants. Species use of habitats is likely to be opportunistic. Structural diversity limited to isolated patches if at all, micro-habitats presence low.” (Seaman 2003).

The wetland sits to a large degree on freehold land and to a small part on Coorong District Council land. The surrounding area is used mainly for grazing with an irrigation site immediately north adjoining the wetland. The Coorong District Council in consultation with the Coorong District LAP manages Waltowa wetland. All management decisions have been worked out and signed off by the landholders.

SECTION 2.02 SURVEY SITES, DATES & LOCATIONS
The River Murray Wetlands Baseline Survey (SKM 2004) monitored different wetland parameters (Table 1) at four separate dates. Waltowa wetland was not inundated for the time of the Baseline Survey, therefore not all parameters could be considered for the Baseline Survey monitoring of Waltowa. The baseline survey did; however, monitor water quality parameters in a small area near the culvert at the start of the survey time. This pool did not remain until the end of the survey. As a consequence, of those parameters monitored for Waltowa, not all were monitored as frequently as in other wetlands. The locations of the Baseline Survey sites can be seen in Appendix B on page 53. Photos of the wetland were taken on the 17th March 2005 at 4 photo locations. The photo locations were at the coordinates in Table 2 below.
Table 1: Baseline survey monitoring of following parameters (SKM 2004)

Parameter
Site physical Vegetation Fish Birds Frogs Macroinvertebrates Water Quality Groundwater NR = Not Recorded

Surveyed
Y Y N Y Y Y Y Y

Date 1
NR NR X Spring 16/12/03 06/12/03 16/12/03 22/01/04

Date 2
X X X Summer 29/01/04 X 29/01/03 21/07/04

Date 3
X X X X 12/03/04 X X X

Date 4
X X X X 02/09/04 X X X

See summary on page
6 16 20 17 19 21 14 15

Table 2: Photo point locations

Label
Photo point 1 (Wpp1) Photo point 2 (Wpp2) Photo point 3 (Wpp3) Photo point 4 (Wpp4 at culvert)

Easting
354529 356275 355381 352877

Northing
6062777 6060597 6058785 6058194

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Map 2: Map of Wetland Complex (Waltowa Photo location (Wpp))

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SECTION 2.03 PHYSICAL FEATURES
(a) WALTOWA WETLAND IN CURRENT DRY STATE Waltowa has been in a dry state since 2002. As a result lignum (Muehlenbeckia florulenta), which previously grew at the wetland fringe, have to a large degree died off or become dormant. Figure 5 below through to Figure 14 on page 11 show the wetland and its fringing vegetation in its current state. Figure 11 to 11 on page 11 show the state of the lignum (Muehlenbeckia florulenta).

Figure 5: Photo Point 1 (Wpp1)

Figure 6: Photo Point 1 (Wpp1)

Figure 7: Photo Point 2 (Wpp2)

Figure 8: Photo Point 2 (Wpp2)

Figure 9: Photo Point 2 (Wpp2)

Figure 10: Photo Point 2 (Wpp2) 10

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Figure 11: Photo Point 3 (Wpp3)

Figure 12: Photo Point 3 (Wpp3)

Figure 13: Photo Point 3 (Wpp3)

Figure 14: Photo Point 3 (Wpp3)

(b) WALTOWA WETLAND IN PAST WET STATE Figure 15 to Figure 18 show the condition of Waltowa wetland and surrounds when it is inundated. As can be seen in these photos, birdlife returns to the wetland when it is inundated.

Figure 15: Waltowa wetland wet

Figure 16: Waltowa wetland wet

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Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

Figure 17: Waltowa wetland culvert with fish screen

Figure 18: Waltowa wetland lake side of culvert

(c) GEOMORPHOLOGY, GEOLOGY AND SOILS The soil in the southern part of the wetland, marshy area, consists mainly of clay with some layers of clay with minimal sand content. The soil in the northern part of the wetland has a shallow 0.5m clay profile on mainly sand and clayey sand (SKM 2004). Copies of the soil logs from the Baseline Survey can be found in Appendix D on page 55. Locations are presented in Section 2.03(f)(ii) on page 15. The wetland sits on the Saint Kilda Formation from the Holocene. (d) CLIMATE The following climatic conditions are taken from the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) Meningie station (number 024518) (Latitude (deg S): -35.6904; Longitude (deg E): 139.3375) (BOM 2005). The recording of data commenced at Meningie in 1864; the latest records used in the assessment of the climatic condition of the area stemming from 2004. Waltowa wetland has a Mediterranean climate with warm dry summers and cool wet winters. The median (5th decile) annual rainfall is 457 mm. The mean monthly maximum rainfall is in June (61.9 mm), the minimum in February (16.9 mm). The expected mean daily maximum temperature is highest in February at 25.4 C, lowest in July at 14.9 C, and has an annual mean of 20.8 C. The minimum daily temperature is at its maximum in January and February at 13.8 C, for both months, and its minimum in July at 6.7 C. The annual mean daily minimum temperature is 10.3 C. (e) WETLAND VOLUMES AND WATER REQUIREMENTS FOR VARIOUS FILLING STAGES The wetland volume was calculated in the Baseline Survey. Table 3 on page 13 summarises the wetland water requirement for Waltowa wetland as calculated for the area shown in Figure 19 based on the DEM developed for the Baseline Survey (see Appendix C on page 54). The volumes at selected hydrology regimes including evaporative losses are covered in Section 7.02 on page 37. The salinity impact of wetland management was to be estimated using the SIWM model. However the Department of Water Land and Biodiversity Conservation (DWLBC) has withdrawn the use of the SIWM model. Some inherent difficulties were found in developing and finalising this model for general use leading to a new modelling approach to be undertaken. DWLBC is presently developing a new model for the simulation of, the impact wetland management will have on salt accumulation within wetlands, as well as, the potential impacts to the river (Croucher 2005). A salinity assessment will be conducted on Waltowa Wetland once the model is available for use, a brief report outlining the results of this modelling will be included in the plan in the future.

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Figure 19: Area of Waltowa used for volume estimates (SKM 2004) Table 3: Summary of wetland basin volumes within Waltowa wetland (adapted from (SKM 2004))

Filling Stage
Full Three quarters full Half full Quarter full

Area (ha)
236.7 132.5 84.6 23.3

Area (m )
2,367,320 1,325,286 846,023 233,052

2

RLm Depth m (AHD)*
0.50 0.38 0.25 0.13 0.50 0.38 0.25 0.13

Volume m3 (KL)
431,787 209,638 75,920 6,016

Volume ML
432 210 76 6

Result Reliability 75% (SKM 2004). *Base of wetland is at 0 mAHD.

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Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

(f) SURFACE AND GROUNDWATER FEATURES (i) Surface water The wetland has remained dry for extended periods since the 1980‟s (see Section 1.01(a) on page 2) because the old pipes under the road were blocked. A new culvert was constructed in 1999 under the Princes Highway at Zone 54, 352877E and 6058194N (see Figure 1, Figure 2, Figure 3, Figure 4 on page 6). This new culvert, which is a box culvert with a flow barrier and large fish grills (control structures), has remained closed since 2002. For a short time, at the commencement of the Baseline Survey monitoring, some water remained within the wetland, which was monitored for water quality (see Table 4 below). For a description of the implications of water quality in wetlands refer to Your Wetland: Supporting Information (Tucker et al. 2003). In comparison the monitored Lake Albert Salinity obtained from the, DWLBC Surface Water Archive (Department of Water Land and Biodiversity Conservation 2005), has a median (daily readings from 1986 to 2004) of EC 1469 μS/cm or EC 1990 μS/cm over a one year period September 2003 to September 2004. This monitoring location is approximately 9km south of the Waltowa wetland inlet at the Meningie Sailing Club (Zone 54, 349821E and 6050128N).
Table 4: Water Quality (SKM 2004)

Parameters
EC μS/cm Mean Min. Max. DO mg/L
-1

16/12/03
2330 ± 0 2330 2330 8.14 ± 0 8.14 8.14 139 ± 0 139 139 23.4 ± 0 23.4 23.4 1 2500 2500 6.4 ± 0 6.4 6.4

29/01/04
2500 ± 0

Mean Min. Max.

pH

Mean Min. Max.

8.05 ± 0 8.05 8.05 10 ± 0 10 10 21.2 ± 0 21.2 21.1 1

Turbidity NTU

Mean Min. Max.

Water Temperature C

Mean Min. Max. n

The Flood Inundation Model does not extend beyond Mannum and is therefore unavailable for this region. No simulations were therefore performed for Waltowa wetlands based on the Flood Inundation Model. To provide some understanding of the anticipated flow within Waltowa wetland Map 3 on page 15 shows the anticipated flow direction of water following inundation.

14

Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

Map 3: Expected water movement within Waltowa wetland

(ii) Groundwater The baseline survey installed 5 groundwater wells within Waltowa wetland. These wells were monitored 4 times during the survey period (22nd January, 12th March, 21st July and 2nd September 2004). The locations of the wells are presented in Table 5 below and a map of the groundwater flow direction in Appendix D on page 55.
Table 5: Groundwater Monitoring Locations (SKM 2004)
Elevation of Bore Hole casing (m-AHD) 1.832 1.794 2.198 2.294 Ground Elevation (m-AHD) 0.653 0.648 1.147 1.339 Benchmark (m-AHD) 0.715 0.778 1.247 1.462

NAME WA1 WA2 WA3 WA4 WA5

EASTING 353315.1 353192.7 354376.8 353972.4 353053.9

NORTHING 6057924.3 6057781.8 6058467.1 6058939.2 6058684

The groundwater salinity levels were lowest around the irrigation area probably due to the less saline input of fresh irrigation water. The remainder of the sites have salinity greater than that of seawater. So far it seems that the irrigation area and the lake water intrusion has caused the groundwater to flow in a south south-easterly direction towards the lower levels of the wetland. Due to the shallow water table in this southern part of the wetland evaporative loses increase the groundwater salinity. Therefore, the groundwater salinity in the southern part of the wetland was found to be extremely high, to the extent of hyper-saline conditions and salt crystal formation (SKM 2004).
15

Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

The wetland water, which was found within the wetland at the start of the baseline survey, was found to have low salinity and therefore assumed to be mainly influenced by lake conditions and not groundwater (SKM 2004). After consultation with landowners, the most likely source for the fresh water would have been via rainfall and seepage from the relatively fresh irrigation water, plus discharge from lake. The rains of June 2005 have inundated the wetland substantially, supporting the probability of the freshwater found during the Baseline Survey was due to rainwater. (iii) Implications for management There is concern that the inundation of the wetland would reverse the flow of the groundwater and raise the saline groundwater around the irrigation area. That is, two things happen. First, the groundwater is raised due to the pressure from the newly flooded wetland. This would bring up the saline groundwater already present at 1 to 1.5 m below ground level to less than 1 m. Secondly; the raised groundwater would become increasingly saline due to evapoconcentration as the water table is raised. The impact of the reflooding (inundation) of Waltowa wetland in relation to the adjacent irrigation area is not fully known. This and additional threats to the wetland are discussed in Chapter 5 on page 27.

SECTION 2.04 ECOLOGICAL FEATURES
(a) FLORA The wetland basin itself is not vegetated; see Appendix E on page 62. There is some degraded lignum (Muehlenbeckia florulenta) around the fringes with competing African boxthorn (Lycium ferocissimum) infestation. The Baseline Survey (SKM 2004) identified a small patch of Phragmites australis in the vicinity of the culvert to Lake Albert. The Baseline Survey listed the samphire species Halosarcia pergranulata ssp. pergranulata as being the dominant shrubland species in the wetland vicinity, as well as some invasive pasture grasses. Three plant associations were surveyed by the Baseline Survey these being: Muehlenbeckia florulenta Open Shrubland over Halosarcia pergranulata ssp. pergranulata Halosarcia pergranulata ssp. pergranulata Closed Shrubland Halosarcia pergranulata ssp. pergranulata Low Open Shrubland A detailed list of species found within the plant associations can be found in Appendix F Section F.01 on page 63. Of consequence to wetland management were two identified species with conservation significance. Lignum (Muehlenbeckia florulenta) is listed as rare within the region (SKM 2004) and Sclerolaena muricata var. villosa (five-spine bindyi) is listed as rare in South Australia as per the South Australian National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 (National Parks and Wildlife Council and Department for Environment and Heritage 2003; SKM 2004). For a description of the function of vegetation in wetlands refer to Your Wetland: Supporting Information (Tucker et al. 2003). (i) Implications for management Lignum (Muehlenbeckia florulenta) should be seen as a target species for restoration through the alteration of the water regime. The removal of competing invasive species should also be addressed and monitored such as pasture weeds and African boxthorn (Lycium ferocissimum). The River Murray Wetlands Baseline Survey (SKM 2004) recommends the establishment of revegetation programs to re-establish salt tolerant vegetation communities (Melaleuca halmaturorum (saltwater paperbark) woodlands and Gahnia filum sedgelands).

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Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

(b) FAUNA The River Murray Wetlands Baseline Survey (SKM 2004) conducted a number of surveys on fauna in the wetland environment. These surveys are described below. (i) Birds Waltowa wetland is recognised in the Coorong, and Lakes Alexandrina and Albert Ramsar Management Plan as an area of critical habitat for waterfowl, waders and waterbirds ("Coorong, and Lakes Alexandrina and Albert Ramsar Management Plan" 2000). The bird assessment of the River Murray Wetlands Baseline Survey (SKM 2004) was conducted in the western half of the wetland. In this section of the wetland there is a low diversity of habitat with low-level vegetation. The roadside vegetation includes some lignum and reed beds, which are fed by Lake Albert. Only the species Masked Lapwing, eight individuals, was observed on the dry wetland. The Masked Lapwing, a migratory species, is protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (SKM 2004). The limited habitat conditions, due to the wetland being dry, were considered to have influenced the diversity and abundance of bird populations in Waltowa wetland. The reason therefore for the lack of birds using Waltowa, is considered to be the present dry nature of the wetland. The habitat availability identified by the Baseline Survey (SKM 2004) are listed in Table 6. The inundation of the wetland should contribute to the development of more diverse habitats than presently available, e.g. open water, water‟s edge, mud flats and Sedges. The development of a more diverse habitat within Waltowa wetland should consequently benefit the birds found in the surrounding Ramsar area.
Table 6: Habitat Features Identified in Waltowa wetland table adapted from (SKM 2004).

Habitat features
Shoreline Fringing vegetation Reeds Sedges Herbs Wet mud Dry mud Hollow bearing trees Perching trees Water‟s edge Fringing River Red Gums Water depth (m) Water level

Spring
Simple Patchy low cover Occasional Absent Extensive Absent Extensive Absent Absent NA Absent 0 NA

Summer
Simple Continuous low cover Occasional Absent Extensive Absent Extensive Absent Absent NA Absent 0 NA

A surveys of bird species found in the area of the Lower Lakes from the period of January 2003 and February 2004 was preformed (Gosbell 2004). This survey was conducted at 23 sites over a period of twelve months; Appendix F Section F.02(a) contains a list of the water birds seen as part of this survey. The findings of the survey were that waterfowl made up 94% of all observations with 45 species, compared to 17 species of waders. Of the 17 waders, 8 were migratory. The scarcity of waders may indicate a lack of suitable habitat or habitat quality. Further, a steady decline in waterbirds over the past 30-40 years may be due to a loss of habitat and habitat diversity (Gosbell 2004). Some important waterbirds spotted at Waltowa wetland during the Lower Lakes Survey include:
17

Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

Grey Teal Anas gracilis Australian Shelduck Tadorna tadornoides (which need tree hollows for breeding and therefore wander) Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio (which showed a preference for shallow vegetated areas) Australasian Shoveler Anas rhynchotis As a future guide to the potential waterbirds at Waltowa wetland, many waterbirds seen at Poltalloc wetland, which provides a similar habitat and water conditions to Waltowa wetland, can also be expected at Waltowa wetland (Dadd 2005). The baseline survey of Poltalloch wetland that is currently under way in 2005 should therefore give a good indication of the response by waterbirds, to the proposed management of Waltowa wetland, i.e. this plan. Until more data becomes available it can be assumed, based on expected habitats and the current birds seen around the Lower Lakes and the Coorong, that the following lists of birds would be expected to make use of Waltowa wetland as a consequence of inundation (Dadd 2005). The CAMBA (China Australia Migratory Birds Agreement) and JAMBA (Japan Australia Migratory Birds Agreement) listed species were taken from ("Camba" 1986; "Jamba" 1986). CAMBA and JAMBA are intergovernmental agreements for the protection of migratory birds and their habitats. In the fringing areas of Waltowa wetland occasional visits could be expected by the Black-tailed Native hen Gallinula ventralis. The waterbirds seen on the lakeside of Waltowa wetland include: Royal Spoonbill Platalea regia Australasian Shoveler Anas rhynchotis – Large concentrations Grey Teal Anas gracilis Chestnut Teal Anas castanea – seen mainly in winter, however not as many as the grey teal Black Duck Anas superciliosa Australian Shelduck Tadorna tadornoides * Pink-eared Duck Malacorhynchus membranaceus Freckled Duck Stictonetta naevosa Swan Cygnus spp. Other birds which could be expected to take advantage, if reeds establish on the wetland side, include: Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio * Australian Crake Porzana pusilla Spotless Crake Porzana tabuensis Dusky Moorhen Gallinula tenebrosa Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybridus * Gull-billed Tern Sterna nilotica Caspian Tern Sterna caspia (CAMBA listed) Crested Tern Sterna bergii (small possibility) Silver Gull Larus novaehollandiae *
18

Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

All Grebes, which are fish eaters/divers, and may therefore use Waltowa wetland if fish return in significant numbers o Australasian Grebe Tachybaptus novaehollandiae – lakes, this species prefers fresh water o Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus – tolerant to saline water, seen at the Coorong and lakes o Hoary Head Grebe Poliocephalus poliocephalus – tolerant to saline water, seen at the Coorong and lakes Wading birds, which would be expected at Waltowa wetland, include: Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus Red-necked Avoset Recurvirostra novaehollandiae * Banded Stilt Cladorhynchus leucocephalus – which prefers hyper saline environments. This wader is often seen in southern area of Coorong and at Poltalloch wetland. Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis (CAMBA listed) The migratory wadders that would be expected on mudflats and early in the season on wet grassy marsh include: Sharp-tailed Sandpiper Calidris acuminata (CAMBA/JAMBA listed) – has been seen at Poltalloch wetland. Sharp-tailed Sandpiper was also identified as a potential user of Waltowa wetland by Seaman (2003). Red-Necked stint Calidris ruficollis (CAMBA/JAMBA listed) – which has been seen in Waltowa wetland area. Red-Necked stint was also identified as a potential user of Waltowa wetland by Seaman (2003). Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia (CAMBA/ JAMBA listed). Common Greenshank was also identified as a potential user of Waltowa wetland by Seaman (2003). Migratory waders that would be expected at the end of season whilst moving out Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea (CAMBA/JAMBA listed). Curlew Sandpiper was also identified as a potential user of Waltowa wetland by Seaman (2003). Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa (CAMBA/JAMBA listed) – This species spends most of the season at the Murray Mouth and has been seen at Poltalloch wetland in the last three weeks prior to migrating to Siberia. Further, a duck hunter has reportedly, seen a Painted Snipe Rostratula benghalensis (CAMBA listed) in samphire area close to Narrung, however this sighting was not been confirmed by D. Dadd (2005). Waltowa wetland is listed as a potential habitat for the Painted Snipe by Seaman (2003). Seaman (2003) also identifies Waltowa wetland as a potential habitat for the Australaisian Bittern Botaurus poiciloptilus, Lewin‟s Rail Rallus pactoralis, Orange-Bellied Parrot Neophema chrysogaster as well as habitat for migratory waders, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper Calidris acuminata, Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea, Red-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis and Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia. Thompson (1986) recorded approximately 500 ducks as well as the birds identified by a * above. (ii) Frogs Three frog species were recorded at Waltowa. The Brown Tree Frog Litoria ewingi (between 2 and 9 individuals) and the Common Froglet Crinia signifera (between 10 and 50 individuals) were recorded in September, and one Spotted Grass Frog Limnodynastes tasmaniensis was recorded in December. All these frogs were recorded close to Princes Highway at the western end of the
19

Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

wetland. Lake Albert sustains reed beds and open water on the western side of the Highway (i.e. not wetland side) where some frog habitat is available. See Appendix F Section F.02(c). On the 17th of July the Common Froglet and the Brown Tree Frog were heard (by Adrienne Frears and Tumi Bjornsson) following rains, which partially inundated the wetland. The Peron‟s Tree Frog Litoria peroni was also heard on this date on the Lake Albert side of the culvert. (iii) Fish Within the Lower Lakes Fish Inventory (Wedderburn and Hammer 2003) the fish species and relative abundance presented in Table 7 and Table 8 were recorded for Lake Albert (tables were adapted from (Wedderburn and Hammer 2003)). The sampling point of the Lower Lakes Fish Inventory for Waltowa wetland area was located at 0352911E 6058365N, which is near the culvert on Lake Albert side of the Princes Highway. Since this survey, the Murray hardyhead (Craterocephalus fluviatilis) has again been observed (Wedderburn 2005). The SKM (2004) Baseline Survey did not sample fish at this wetland due to lack of water. Flow control structures can have an impact on the movement of fish in and out of wetland environments, due to changes in water quality and/or water flow (velocities, turbulence) (see Your Wetland: Supporting Information (Tucker et al. 2003)). Murray hardyhead (Craterocephalus fluviatilis) is considered Vulnerable as listed in Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 ("Epbc Act" 1999) of Australia and Endangered in South Australia (National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 (National Parks and Wildlife Council and Department for Environment and Heritage 2003). The Murray hardyhead is considered to be a specialist, that is, it prefers still habitats such as wetlands. It is found on the Lake Albert side of the Waltowa wetland culvert. It is therefore highly likely that this specialist will migrate into Waltowa wetland and take advantage of the increased habitat availability (Wedderburn 2005). Consideration should therefore be given to this specialist and its habitat requirement in the development and maintenance of management strategies for Waltowa wetland. The only fish recorded by Thompson (1986) was the Mitchellian freshwater hardyhead Craterocephalus stercusmuscarum.
Table 7: Native fish

Abundance Common Name
Common galaxias Australian smelt Bony herring Smallmouthed hardyhead Flyspecked hardyhead Murray hardyhead Flathead Gudgeon Dwarf Flathead Gudgeon Lagoon Goby

Abundance Waltowa 30/04/03
30

Status SA Australia

Scientific Name
Galaxias maculatus Retropinna semoni Nematalosa erebi Atherinosoma microstoma Craterocephalus stercusmuscarum fulvus Craterocephalus fluviatilis Philypnodon grandiceps Philypnodon sp. Tasmanogobius lasti

Lake Albert
579 286 30 189 3

R

5 90 2 239

5

E

V

R

20

Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005
Tamar River goby Western blue spot goby Congolli Golden Perch Number of Species Afurcagobius tamarensis Pseudogobius olorum Pseudaphritis urvillii Macquaria ambigua 2 251 2 1 13 3 3 R

R = Rare (taxon in decline or naturally limited presence), V = Vulnerable (high risk of extinction in wild), E = Endangered (very high risk of extinction in wild) ("Epbc Act" 1999; National Parks and Wildlife Council and Department for Environment and Heritage 2003)

Table 8: Introduced fish

Abundance Common Name
Gambusia Goldfish Common Carp Redfin Number of Species

Abundance Waltowa 30/04/03
16 1 2

Status SA Australia

Scientific Name
Gambusia holbrooki Carassius auratus Cyprinus carpio Perca fluviatilis

Lake Albert
71 4 36 128 4

(iv) Macroinvertebrates The River Murray Wetlands Baseline Survey (SKM 2004) monitored macroinvertebrates at Waltowa at one sample date only. On this sample date 21 taxa were found with a total of 835 individuals. The taxa found indicate slightly saline conditions. The Macroinvertebrates recorded in Waltowa wetland during the River Murray Wetlands Baseline Survey (SKM 2004), collection date 06/12/2003; can be found in Appendix F Section F.02(b) as well as those identified by Thompson (1986). For a description of the function of Macroinvertebrates in wetlands refer to Your Wetland: Supporting Information (Tucker et al. 2003). During surveys of macroinvertebrates and water quality in the early 1990‟s the wetland was found to be very saline (Goonan 2005). The report published at that time will be discussed in detail in a future appendix to this WMP. (v) Implications for management To manage the wetland with an aim of increasing bird habitat availability, the diversity must be increased and maintained. The establishment of open water, shoreline and wet mud flats being some of the habitats desired. With the establishment of more diverse and healthy aquatic habitats, the abundance of frogs within Waltowa wetland itself should potentially also increase although this is a secondary consideration for Waltowa wetland. It is anticipated that the saline wetland will not adversely affect the Murray hardyhead (Craterocephalus fluviatilis), the inundated wetland should therefore provide added habitat and therefore be beneficial to its population numbers (Wedderburn 2005).

21

Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

Chapter 3. SOCIAL ECONOMIC AND CULTURAL VALUES
Waltowa wetland is a culturally significant area for the Ngarrindjeri community. The summary of the cultural significance as described by Ngarrindjeri elders Tom Trevorrow (Chairperson Ngarrindjeri Heritage Committee) and Matt Rigney (Chairperson Ngarrindjeri Native Title Committee) (2005), which is detailed below, discusses some of the significant cultural aspects of the Waltowa wetland area. Until its relatively recent degradation, which began in the 1960‟s, Waltowa wetland was a very important area to the Ngarrindjeri and was used extensively for the collection of food and other resources. Waltowa wetland was traditionally one of the favoured areas for the collection of swan eggs. The fringes and islands of the wetlands, which are now low degraded samphire, where once areas of dense tall reeds where swans eggs could be sustainably collected in very large numbers. Tom Trevorrow recalls collecting swan eggs right through to the backcountry (i.e. the east side of the wetland) as a young person in the 1960‟s. Other fauna of particular significance to the Ngarrindjeri that were common in Waltowa included the long-necked tortoise Chelodina longicollis, whose eggs were also harvested for food, the yabby Cheerax destructor, and numerous species of bird. The wetland was also considered a nursery for native fish including the catfish Tandanus tandanus and the yellow-belly (golden perch) Macquaria ambigua. The vegetation that existed in the Waltowa wetland prior to its degradation was also very important to the Ngarrindjeri community. Cyperus gymnocaulos was very common in the area and was used by Ngarrindjeri women for basket weaving. This important tradition is still practiced and the degradation of Waltowa represents a significant loss of this important cultural resource. Other vegetation of significance that has been lost from the wetland includes the freshwater aquatic weed locally known as swan weed. This was important for swan habitat and the roots also formed an important food source for people. The restoration of the wetland is of great importance to the Ngarrindjeri. Re-instating its traditional semi-permanent freshwater state and the revegetation with local plant species are seen as priorities. The ecological and cultural importance of Waltowa wetland was highlighted in the Ngarrindjeri Perspectives paper that was developed during the preparation of the Ramsar Management Plan in 2000. The site has also been specifically identified and discussed as extremely important by Matt Rigney as a representative on the Community Reference Panel of the Murray Darling Basin Commission. Matt Rigney is also the chair of MLDRIN (Murray and Lower Darling River Indigenous Nations) a consortium of the 14 Lower Murray Darling Nations, this group has also identified Waltowa as a priority wetland for the provision of environmental and cultural water flows. In conclusion, Waltowa wetland is a highly significant area for the Ngarrindjeri community and they are very supportive of its restoration. The Ngarrindjeri community is also very interested in further documenting the significance of the wetland and in being actively involved in the on-going management of the area. 1. Ngarrindjeri recommend that environmental/cultural waters be allowed to enter the Waltowa area again to allow rejuvenation of this once important wetlands/nursery. 2. Ngarrindjeri recommend that native revegetation take place in the Waltowa wetland area. 3. Ngarrindjeri needs to be a party to the management/restoration of the Waltowa wetland area.

22

Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

Chapter 4. LAND TENURE, MANAGEMENT ARRANGEMENTS
SECTION 4.01 LAND TENURE

JURISDICTION

AND

There are multiple properties, which encompass Waltowa wetland. Most of these properties are freehold. The main wetland body and some properties at the west end of Waltowa wetland are crown leasehold. The property boundaries and the ownership details can be seen in Map 4 on page 24 and Table 10 on page 25.

SECTION 4.02 LAND AND WATER USE
The main land use in the surrounding area is cattle grazing. In the past parts of Waltowa wetland was open to stock access. Most of the wetland is now fenced off to exclude all stock. See Map 5 on page 26 for fence locations. North of the Wetland is irrigated pasture which was fenced off early to exclude stock from the reed beds present at that time (see Section 1.01(a) on page 2).

SECTION 4.03 JURISDICTION AND MANAGEMENT AUTHORITY
The Coorong District council and the Coorong District LAP will be responsible for the management of the wetland in consultation with the landholders. Transport SA is responsible for the culvert through the Princes Highway. Contact persons for Waltowa wetland management will be Coorong District LAP Officers, Wetland Management Planning Officer or RMCWMB Wetland Project Officer, see Table 9 below for contact details. Access to the wetland will need to be arranged through consultation with the relevant landowner.
Table 9: Waltowa wetland responsible positions contact details

Position

Present Officers

Organisation

Mailing Address
Tintinara SA 5266

Phone number
(08) 8757 2100

Coorong Graham District LAP Gates Project Officer

Coorong District LAP PO Box 1021

Coorong District LAP PO Box 1021 Coorong Lesley District LAP Cameron Implementation Officer

Tintinara SA 5266

(08) 8757 2100

Wetland Management Planning Officer

Lower LAPS Tumi Bjornsson

Mt. Lofty Ranges Mount Catchment Centre Barker Upper Level, Cnr Mann and Walker St's PO Box 2056 Murray Bridge

SA 5251

(08) 8391 7515

Wetland Adrienne RMCWMB Project Officer, Frears Lower Murray

SA 5253

(08) 8232 6753

23

Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

Map 4: Cadastral boundaries covering Waltowa wetland and surrounds.

24

Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005 Table 10: Land Tenure

TITLE ID AREA PERIMETER LOT VALUE DCDB ID TITLE ESTA LEASE TYPE LEASE NUMB LAND USE_C OWNERSHIP OWNERS_ABB AREA_ TITL RURAL_PROP

CT5606/88 429430 3126.41 346 H750300 S346 FEE SIMPLE ENTIRETY

CT5624/69 1205372 4392.56 C H750300 BC FEE SIMPLE ENTIRETY

CT5645/355 526998.1 2975.93 244 H750300 S244 FEE SIMPLE ENTIRETY

CT5443/179 952520.4 4055.07 159 H750300 S159 FEE SIMPLE ENTIRETY

CT5553/679 2030293 5800.6 91 F212818 A91 FEE SIMPLE ENTIRETY

CT5485/9 2428462 6470.42 203 H750300 S203 FEE SIMPLE ENTIRETY

CT5364/222 368096.7 2443.79 298 H750300 S298 FEE SIMPLE ENTIRETY

CT5364/672 591474.1 3116.79 297 H750300 S297 FEE SIMPLE ENTIRETY

CT5363/856 1077788 4449.21 G H750300 SG FEE SIMPLE ENTIRETY

CT5219/390 114615.1 1947.62 360 H750300 S360 FEE SIMPLE ENTIRETY

CL1303/48 1565268 6999.62 353 H750300 S353 CROWN LEASEHOL D OP 3008

CL1303/49 63158.64 1039.2 64 H750300 S64 CROWN LEASEHOL D OP 7955 9250 70361100 GEMLAKE PTY LTD 0 HD BONNEY SECS 7-10 19 32-35 43 58 63-69 127 133-136 148-150 J LTS 31 32 33 F217969

CL828 /27 1532555 5462.87 186 H750300 S186 CROWN LEASEHOL D OP 15288 4920 10612035 N&J BIDDLE 153.4 HD BONNEY SEC 186

CL828 /26 1629615 5169.18 185 H750300 S185 CROWN LEASEHOL D OP 15287 9230 1755958 JB&P C*MCCLUR E 164.3 HD BONNEY SECS 157 158 185 LT 91 F212913 LT 91 F212818

9230 6054894 P W*FIEBIG

9240 2449928 JB&P C*MCCLUR E 119.7 HD BONNEY SECS 242 243 244 245 C

9240 2449928 JB&P C*MCCLUR E 0 HD MALCOLM SECS 136/138 140/168 170/194 240 LT 1 D51266 PCS 4-5 F218550

9210 4410111 D D*WRIGHT 94.42 HD BONNEY SEC 159

9230 1755958 M O‟DWYERr 200.1 HD BONNEY SECS 157 158 185 LT 91 F212913 LT 91 F212818

9230 5265876 W D*WRIGHT 246 HD BONNEY SECS 52 203 290

4920 10612035 N&J BIDDLE 36.6 HD BONNEY SEC 298

4920 10612035 N&J BIDDLE 58.27 HD BONNEY SEC 297

9240 10612035 A R* N & J BIDDLE 107.2 HD BONNEY SEC G

9210 70361100 GEMLAKE PTY LTD 0 HD BONNEY SECS 356 357 358 359 360

9250 70361100 GEMLAKE PTY LTD 155.8 HD BONNEY SECS 7-10 19 32-35 43 58 63-69 127 133-136 148-150 J LTS 31 32 33 F217969

0 HD BONNEY SEC 299 346

25

Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

Map 5: Waltowa Stock Fences 26

Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

Chapter 5. THREATS AND WALTOWA WETLAND

POTENTIAL

SOLUTIONS

TO

There are a number of existing and potential threats to Waltowa wetland, some of which have become apparent in the description of the wetland and available data in the chapters above. The identification of these threats is essential for appropriate adaptive management of the wetland. Their early recognition allows for an appropriate monitoring strategy for early identification of adverse impacts of management and therefore rapid response through altered management. The major current threat to the wetland is the long-term lack of inundation, leading to a loss of biodiversity such as riparian vegetation dieback and complete loss of aquatic vegetation. Other impacts to the wetland, due to a lack of inundation, include the saline groundwater intrusion leading to salinisation of the wetland soil (saltpan). This „source‟ threat, a lack of inundation, is being addressed by this management plan. However, the altered management of a wetland will in itself bring with it potential threats that need to be identified, these and others identified so far have been listed in Table 11 on page 28. The most immediate threat, as a result of the proposed wetland restoration management, i.e. the change in wetland inundation, is the effect on groundwater flow direction. That is, the wetland inundation is encumbered with the potential threat of saline groundwater intrusion to the adjacent irrigation area. The change in flow direction of the groundwater could be a rapid one due to the sandy soils in the wetland area. However, this threat is not fully understood, which complicates the development of an appropriate hydrology management strategy. The awareness of this potential threat is therefore central to future management actions and monitoring set out in this Wetland Management Plan. One threat recently identified in the wetland area is the invasive weed Sharp rush Juncus acutus Figure 20 and Figure 21. It should be included in future weed removal strategies as part of the wetland surrounding area restoration work.

Figure 20: Juncus acutus

Figure 21: Juncus acutus (detail)

27

Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005 Table 11: Existing and prospective threats to Waltowa wetland

THREATS
Altered hydrology

SYMPTOM
Dry wetland

CAUSE
Causeway over wetland inlet with a closed flow control structure

IMPACT
Dieback of native vegetation (Aquatic and riparian) Loss of habitat variability for Fauna (Birds, Fish, Frogs, Turtles, Macroinvertebrates) Rising of saline groundwater under irrigation areas. Degradation of the quality of irrigation area due to salinity.

CATEGORY
Regional & Local Local management response

EXTENT (IF KNOWN)
Wetland proper and fringing low lying areas (Regional cause, river and lake regulation) Irrigation area to the north of the wetland. Possibly also to the east, monitoring is included in the WMP

POTENTIAL SOLUTION
Addressed in this Management Plan Introduce “natural” water regime

Existing
Raising Saline Groundwater Particularly impact on Irrigation site

Potential

Change in groundwater levels (would indicate change in flow direction)

Hydrostatic pressure from wetland water on groundwater under and around wetland as a result of management Rapid change in groundwater due to the sandy soil in the area

Regional & Local Local management response

Salinisation of the wetland

Increasing EC of wetland water body Increasing salinity in wetland base/soil

Potential

Salt-slug escaping into Lake Albert

Hypersaline water

Evapo-concentration Loss of wet phase Saline seepage from groundwater No water license Saltpan already present Existing control structure (closed) Wetland maintained at a dry phase for to long Loss of freshwater lens (lack of hydrostatic pressure) Hydraulic pressure from lake Albert and Irrigation area (pushes saline groundwater toward southern end of wetland) Flow out of wetland due to wind

ABIOTIC

Existing

Degradation of wetland water quality Degradation of wetland environments Degradation of habitat quality for native fish Less native fish diversity

Local

Wetland proper and fringing low lying areas

Monitor groundwater around wetland Respond to changing groundwater salinity and flow direction May need to reduce wetland inundation to remove hydrostatic pressure. Options for hydrological regime are presented in the Operational Plan (on page 37) Maximise water use efficiency of irrigation (minimise recharge) Flushing not possible. Only potential is to close off wetland Re-evaluate options

Potentially picked up by irrigators

Local

Irrigators that draw water from Lake Albert. Wetland body (when wet)

Monitor wetland salinity If this threat becomes an imminent one close flow control structures whenever the wetland does not require additional water Exclude large carp (this would minimise the impact of the feeding behaviour of carp) Restoration of macrophytes (macrophytes have been shown to increase sedimentation within wetlands and therefore reduce turbidity) Restoration of fringing vegetation (the riparian vegetation will act as a windbreak and may therefore reduce wind induced resuspension)

Poor Water Quality: Turbidity

Turbid wetland, loss of macrophytes and potential algal bloom

Bioturbation (Carp) Wind resuspension

Blocking of light penetration and therefore reducing macrophyte growth Lack of macrophytes – less nutrient uptake which become available to algae which are not as impacted on by high turbidities Algal blooms Degradation of habitat quality for fauna (e.g. macroinvertebrates, native fish and birds)

Local

Potential

28

Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

THREATS Existing
Loss of aquatic vegetation

SYMPTOM
Their absence

CAUSE
Lack of water (inundation) Mismanagement of wetland hydrology Highly saline soils Lack of water (inundation) Weed infestation Mismanagement of wetland hydrology Loss of natural variability of inundation Loss of native species (fish, riparian and aquatic vegetation) Grazing – introduction of weeds (introduction of seed, aiding invasion) Grazing – reduction of biodiversity Mismanagement of wetland hydrology Mismanagement of wetland environment – in environmental terms Ability to grow in saline & dry environments

IMPACT
Loss of habitat availability and diversity

CATEGORY
Local

EXTENT (IF KNOWN)
Wetland body

POTENTIAL SOLUTION
Addressed in this Management Plan Inundate wetland Freshen wetland Addressed in this Management Plan Inundate wetland Revegetate

Existing

Loss of native riparian vegetation

Reduction of biodiversity

No large trees in the area Degraded/dying specimens Invasive species present Low species diversity in comparison to historical/anecdotal records

Loss of habitat/breeding hollows (birds) Loss of snags in water body Loss of windbreak Extensive degradation of wetland ecosystem (Domino effect on food chain)

Local

Surrounding area. Extensive. Revegetation option for riparian area addressed in WMP. Wetland and wetland influenced surrounding area (the extent of the wetland area is still debatable).

Local and Regional

Restore wetland

Existing
Boxthorn

Their presence

Existing

BIOTIC

Exotic species Competition with native vegetation Loss of habitat (food source?) Fish dieback Stagnant dead wetland Bad odour

Local

Blackwater event

Potential

Dark eutrophic water O2 depletion Fish death

Inundation of samphire which breaks down to release high amount of nutrient

Local

Northern section of the wetland area in lignum Muehlenbeckia florulenta shrublands. Wetland water body (when wet)

Active removal - poisoning

Monitor water quality (O2 saturation) Freshen with additional water Oxygenate water

Invasive fish species (carp, gambusia, goldfish and redfin)

Turbid wetlands Reduction in native fish diversity and abundance

WMP = Wetland Management Plan

Potential

No habitat development for larger native fish species

Reduction/low numbers of large native fish

Well known environmental problem in region (large pest population), introduced for various reasons including mosquito control, aquaculture and aquarium industry (discarded specimens) Rapid breeding cycles (carp ~2/year), live bearing (gambusia), unpalatable eggs (redfin) Predation on native fish (redfin) Fish screens

Competition for habitat. (domination of available habitat) Predation/aggressive interaction on/with small and young native fish (redfin/gambusia) Damage to aquatic vegetation Decrease in water quality (Turbidity increase)

Regional and local (Managed locally)

Wetland water body (when wet)

Potential

Active management of salinity to favour native fish species If carp exclusion trials are successful in other wetlands it could be considered for Waltowa Removal of large carp during dry phase Monitor abundance of invasive species with comparative monitoring of abundance of native species

Loss of recruitment and grow out habitat Loss of potential increase in abundance of large native fish

Local

Wetland water body (when wet)

Consider carp separation cages if necessary. This threat may be minimal due to the potentially high salinity content f the wetland.

29

Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

Chapter 6. MANAGEMENT OBJECTIVES
Based on the objectives presented in Section 1.02(c) on page 4 and the threats to the wetland discussed in Chapter 5 on page 27, management objectives can now be developed in detail. The objectives, including solutions, actions needed and priorities are detailed in Table 12 on page 31. Adaptive management will drive the actions undertaken to achieve the objectives. Due to the complexity of the groundwater wetland interactions and identified potential threats to the irrigation area adjacent to the wetland (see Chapter 5 on page 27) the hydrological regime and therefore detailed objectives will need to be flexible. A minor review of the objectives and the Wetland Management Plan is recommended at the end of the first „experimental‟ inundation year. Depending on the outcomes of the first review, a second minor review is recommended for the following year, which should schedule a major review to follow within the following 3 years.

30

Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005 Table 12: Management objectives for Waltowa wetland.

MANAGEMENT OBJECTIVES

SOLUTIONS

ACTIONS (Management (M) or Engineering or structural (ES))
Open flow control gates (ES) Control hydraulic regime adaptively (see Section 7.02 on page 37)

QUANTIFIABLE /MEASURE OF ACHIEVEMENT
Diversity of aquatic species (Presence of Ruppia Megacarpa/Polycarpa and Lepilaena cylindrocarpa, Myriophyllum) Maintain clear wetland (Turbidity NTU 80 for ~ 90% of time) Recovery of 50% of standing specimens (short term) Re-establishment and survival of missing species (e.g. Melaleuca) Numbers based on expert recommendation Reduction of weeds (as per expert assessment) Presence of 3 native fish species found outside of wetland (see Table 7 on page 20)

MONITOR (TIMING)

LEGISLATION

PRIORITY

Regeneration of wetland aquatic species (Improved water plant communities)

VEGETATION

Native

Management of inundation/drying periods Manage water regime to trigger/induce aquatic and riparian vegetation regeneration (Aim for key wetland species)

Photo point (Y) Vegetation survey (Y) Monitor water quality (M) Photo point (Y) Vegetation survey (Y)

WAP (water license)

High Covered by this plan

Regeneration of riparian vegetation

Manage water regime to restore vegetation (woodland, sedgeland and herbland plant communities) Establish native re-vegetation projects

Native

Establish a water regime which included flooding and draw down (ES) Actively revegetate using locally collected seed Weed control as per expert recommendations Open flow control gates (ES) Control refilling speed to optimize for aquatic vegetation germination and growth Maintenance of a stable still water environment (Murray hardyhead prerequisite) Restore riparian vegetation

WAP (water license)

Medium

Inva sive

Removal of weeds from wetland area Restore native fish habitat (Although the wetland water is anticipated to be saline, one of the management objectives is the increase in native fish diversity. The attempt will be made to provide a diverse habitat, however the high salinity may reduce the number of native fish species able to survive in this environment (wetland))

Establish weed removal projects in the wetland area (Boxthorn, Sharp rush etc.) Manage water regime to restore habitat values for native fish and therefore enhance their breeding. Of particular interest for Waltowa wetland is the Murray hardyhead (see Section 2.04(b) on page 17)). Improved fish habitat through improved and more diverse ecological niches, such as macrophytes (emergent and submerged), snags (therefore need riparian vegetation) and open water. As well as more food sources, biofilms etc. This would lead to an increased diversity and abundance of small native fish, which are prayed upon by larger native fish. Both are in turn prayed upon by waterbirds who also obtain a more diverse habitat though the development of aquatic and riparian vegetation

Vegetation survey (Y) Fish survey (Y)

N/A WAP (water license) EPBC Act

Low Medium

Native

FISH

31

Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

MANAGEMENT OBJECTIVES

SOLUTIONS

ACTIONS (MANAGEMENT (M) OR ENGINEERING OR STRUCTURAL (ES))
If carp become a significant issue consider potential future instillation of carp exclusion cages Manage wetland water regime to minimize turbidity and maintain aquatic vegetation (ES) Restoration of wetland habitat and conditions for native fish species, migratory water birds, native water birds and fringing species, and aquatic and riparian plant species. (See vegetation objectives & Section 7.02 on page 37) Restore hydrology regime

QUANTIFIABLE /MEASURE OF ACHIEVEMENT
Low abundance of invasive fish species in wetland Increase in bird diversity using wetland ( 10 species) Increase bird numbers using wetland Increase in habitat (open water, mudflat and vegetation) diversity Ground water levels in piezometers and assess flow direction Monitor wetland salinity (no net increase over time after inundation) Monitor soil salinity (no net increase in soil salinity, some reduction) Fluctuation of water salinity Visibly clear water Turbidity of wetland water below 80 NTU for majority of time (~90%) Clear distinct channel As decided in WMP update

MONITOR (TIMING)
Fish survey (Y) Observation (Carp come to surface) Bird survey (1/2Y) Vegetation survey (Y) Observation

LEGISLATION

PRIORITY

Invasive

FISH

Reduce threat of invasive fish species

Manage water regime to minimise invasion of exotic fish

Medium

Native/Migrator y

BIRDS

Improved habitat for water birds (Waterfowl, waders and shorebirds, etc.)

Avoid/Minimise adverse impact of changed wetland management on irrigation area Reduce groundwater impact on wetland

Manage water regime to restore habitat values for water birds and therefore enhance their breeding (where appropriate) (All habitat including open water) Manage water regime to restore habitat values for migratory bird species Manage water regime to minimise adverse impact of management strategy in irrigation area Develop freshwater lens under wetland

High (Waltowa is a wetland in the Ramsar area)

Install new piezometers Monitor ground water levels Adjust wetland water volume accordingly Inundate wetland for a long time period Establish hydrological regime based on best knowledge of past wetland hydrology Monitor effect of restored hydrology and adapt management accordingly Keep structure open for as long as possible to allow for maximum water exchange between lake and wetland

Piezometer water level monitoring (8xW – M) Monitor water quality (M)

High

GW

Medium

GW
Salinity

Turbidity

WQ

Manage water regime to minimise salinity impact of management strategy, maximising the wetland restoration Manage water regime to minimise turbidity of wetland water of management strategy, maximising the wetland restoration Clear out flow paths into wetland Construct secondary flow control (wetland could potentially not be filled to 0.5. perhaps only to ¾ full.

MANAGEMENT

WQ

Monitor water quality (M) Monitor water quality (M) Observation Development Act Native Vegetation Act ?

Medium

Establish an occasional wetland dry phase (4~5 yearly) if turbidity becomes excessive over a long time period

Low

Stru ctur al

Improve connectivity of wetland with Lake Albert Avoid flooding of extended area (i.e. restrict flooding of eastern half of wetland)

Remove reeds from flow channel Clear channel of debris (and sediment if necessary)
st

Photo point Observation

Medium Very Low

Can only be assessed and completed after 1 year inundation trial Construction and operation of secondary flow control structure Reassess management plan WMP, Wetland Management Plan; GW, Ground Water; WQ, Water Quality; W, Weekly; M, Monthly; Y, Yearly

Volume/ Area

32

Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

Chapter 7. IMPLEMENTATION OF PLAN
The most immediate threat to the off target surrounding environment as a consequence of an altered wetland hydrology regime is the potential change in saline groundwater flow direction towards the adjacent irrigation area or other surrounding lands, this threat is presented in Chapter 5 on page 27. To address this threat and quickly be able to adapt a management response, a number of recommendations have been made. To be able to monitor the effects of the inundation of the wetland on the ground water Jolly and Holland (2005) recommended a cautious approach, with an initially frequent monitoring program of groundwater levels in the area following wetland inundation. The following are both the recommendations and a summary of „optimum‟ management actions for the initial inundation year: Clearing out of flow path between Lake Albert and the culvert. Make/purchase flow control boards/planks for more effective management of water inflow (if necessary). Installation of piezometers linearly from existing well location WA4 and a further set parallel, as well as two additional ones at the west end of the wetland. See Map 6 on page 35 for new piezometer locations (X1, X3, X5 and X6 installed on the 17th June 2005). Survey new piezometers. Monitoring of groundwater flow direction following inundation. Initially, weekly for 8 weeks of inundation followed by monthly. Monitoring of groundwater salinity quarterly. Monitor soil salinity both prior to and post wetland inundation. Inundate wetland at 0.3m for the first year. Depending on experiences of the first year inundation trials, inundate the wetland at 0.5m in the second year for 4 months, wetting the riparian vegetation, followed by a slow draw down to 0.3m, leaving mud flats as an extra bird habitat. Depending on experiences of the first and second year, manage wetland hydrology to promote the optimum vegetation restoration and habitat development (bird and fish).

SECTION 7.01 ON GROUND ACTION AND TIMETABLE
Table 14, on page 36, provides a timetable for the on ground works in Waltowa wetland area, prior to inundation, during inundation as well as post inundation. The table does not address monitoring which is discussed in Chapter 8 on page 46. The locations of the recommended new piezometers are identified on Map 6 on page 35 and listed in Table 13 on page 34. A further 2 piezometers are to be installed at the east end of the wetland, the locations of which will be determined by accessibility. A log of all activities should be maintained. This log would assist in the review process of the Wetland Management Plan discussed in Chapter 9 on page 48.

33

Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005 Table 13: New Photo points and Piezometer Locations

NAME EASTING NORTHING AMG Zone
WALPP01 354127 6058408 54

Datum Description
WGS 84 At fence line on wetland edge, near old lignum WGS 84 At fence corner near end of revegetated fence line WGS 84 Near wetland structure off Princes Highway WGS 84 Near wetland edge down from centre pivot

Property
Fiebig

WALPP02

353982

6057716

54

Biddles

WALPP03 X1 X2 X3 X4 X5 X6

352877 353846 353961.8 353422 353440 353850 353998

6058181 6058503 6058111 6058596 6058250 6058689 6057715

54 54 54 54 54 54 54

Council Fiebig

WGS 84 Inside fence on wetland edge towards highway

Fiebig

WGS 84 WGS 84 Inside fence on wetland edge, at fence corner near end of revegetation strip

Fiebig Biddles

34

Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

Map 6: Groundwater investigation sites within Waltowa wetland. 35

Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005 Table 14: Implementation plan for Waltowa wetland land based activities. ACTIVITY
Install permanent photo points Install new piezometers to determine the change in groundwater flow direction (see next map) Survey new piezometers & gauge board Install gauge board in wetland Clear flow path of vegetation between Lake Albert and Waltowa wetland Create new flow control structures/boards to finetune flow rate into wetland Inundate wetland Less than 1cm/day (needs to maintain flow path clear) Monitor GW flow direction Monitor GW flow direction Maintain wetland volume (Monitoring of gauge boards and operation of flow control structure) Removal of Box thorn Revegetation vegetation of fringing

PRIORITY
High High

RESOURCES
2 persons 1 hrs Materials and tools (available) 2 persons 16 hrs Tools, hand auger, hack saw, GPS etc. (available) PVC pipe (8 x 3m), end caps etc. (available) Dumpy level Gauge board 1 person/ ~1hrs 1 person/ ~2hrs Secateurs Waders Heavy timber boards 1 person 15 minutes/day for time that the wetland is being filled, or equivalent to ensure the slow filling of the wetland. 1 person ½ hour/week 1 person ½ hour/month 1 person 15 minutes/week

TIMETABLE
Winter – Spring 2005 prior to flood event (WAL01, WAL02 and WAL03 th installed on the 17 June 2005) Winter - Spring 2005 Prior to flood event (X1, X3, X5 and th X6 installed on the 17 June 2005, X2, X4, X7 and X8 remain to be installed) ASAP Winter Spring Prior to flood event Winter Prior to flooding Only if required September Spring 2005 2005

RESPONSIBILITY
RMCWM/LAP (Adrienne Frears, Tumi Bjornsson & John Boundy) RMCWM/LAP (Adrienne Frears, Tumi Bjornsson & John Boundy)

PRIOR TO WETLAND INUNDATION

High High High

RMCWM/LAP (Adrienne Bjornsson & John Boundy) RMCWM/LAP (Adrienne Bjornsson & John Boundy) Transport SA/Council

Frears, Frears,

Tumi Tumi

Low High

LAP Council

DURING INUNDATION (WETLAND FLOODING)

INUNDATION

High High High

First 8 weeks Post first 8 weeks Continual as per HOP

Contracted Person RMCWM/LAP Coorong District Councill (John Boundy?)

AFTER

APPROPRIAT

Low Low

Funding On grounds project Funding Seed collection

Asap As appropriate for seed collection and revegetation works. Expert recommendation. Community interest if necessary (R. Williams)

LAP LAP

AS

HOP, Hydrology Operational Plan

E

36

Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

SECTION 7.02 WETLAND WATER OPERATIONAL PLAN
The strongest tool in managing a wetland is the control of the wetland hydrology. Hydrology controls the germination and growth of aquatic and riparian vegetation. The healthy vegetation and appropriate inundation leads to the growth of biofilms, the vegetation and biofilms being a food source for macroinvertebrates and small native fish. The vegetation and appropriate water regime also provide a more diverse habitat for waterbirds and fish. The restoration of Waltowa wetland and fulfilment of the major objectives, the restoration of a complex wetland ecosystem, is therefore reliant upon the establishment of an appropriate water regime. Waltowa wetland is presently dry due to the closure of the flow control structure in 2002. For a short time (1999 to 2002) Waltowa wetland was operated as a temporary wetland. In the management brief of 1999 (Jensen 1999) for the management of Waltowa wetland, Waltowa was identified, by anecdotal evidence, to be (until early 1980‟s) a semi permanent wetland. Both this anecdotal evidence and the habitat requirements of the „present‟ Murray hardyhead therefore strongly support the attempt at restoring a semi permanent hydrological regime to Waltowa wetland. However, prior to establishing a semi permanent hydrological regime to Waltowa wetland and given the potential negative impact of groundwater salinity on the adjacent irrigation area, it seems prudent to inundate the wetland initially at maximal 0.3m depth. The 0.3m is preferred to a full 0.5m depth in the initial year so as to provide an option of a rapid draw down of wetland water. This option will give managers the potential to quickly adapt to the change in groundwater levels (flow direction), should the need arise. As the wetland only receives water from Lake Albert when Lake Albert levels are at or above 0.6m AHD it may not be possible to maintain this level within the wetland for the full year. The suggested water levels are therefore a maximum or optimum desired level. The average maximum, average minimum and median (Max. and Min) lake levels at Mundoo Barrage (Lake Alexandrina), for dates when records were available (‟81*, ‟82, ‟83, ‟02, ‟03*, „04* (* full year data)), are presented in Figure 22 below. It is anticipated that most of the water that enters the wetland will evaporate within it, with only minor outflow during the times when the flow structure is open. TO compare salinity levels between the wetland and Lake Albert refer to 0 Section 2.03(f)(i) on page 14.
A ve r ag e an d M e d ian lak e le ve ls in 1981*, 1982, 1983, 2002, 2003*, 2004* ( * f u ll ye ar d at a)

1.2 1

L ake L evel m A H D

0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 0 Jan Feb Mar A pr May Jun Jul Dat e LA KE A LEXA NDRINA @ Mundoo Bar r age ( U/S) Lake Lev el ( m) Median LA KE A LEXA NDRINA @ Mundoo Bar r age ( U/S) Lake Lev el ( m) Mean Max LA KE A LEXA NDRINA @ Mundoo Bar r age ( U/S) Lake Lev el ( m) Mean Min A ug Sep Oc t Nov Dec

Figure 22: Lake levels Mean Max., Mean Min. and Median (Max. and Min.) 37

Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

Provided no adverse impact was experienced in the initial year, the wetland inundation should be increased to a maximal depth of 0.5m with similar monitoring frequencies in the second year of this Wetland Management Plan, i.e. 2006. The wetland hydrology regime (management) options then available are: Option 1. Maintain the wetland at full (0.5m) for an extended period (given no adverse impact is experienced). Option 2. Maintain the wetland at full (0.5m) for a short period followed by a draw down to 0.3m. Option 3. Maintain the wetland at 0.3m as in the initial experimental year. Option 4. Adapt the wetland hydrology to groundwater response and irrigation periods. A temporary water regime. No options for a temporary water regime are discussed in this plan. A review of the impact experienced on groundwater, in the first trial year, is necessary prior to the development of an appropriate temporary regime. The options chosen will be based on the experience of the first year as well as the response monitored during the second inundation year. The decision-making is assisted through the decision protocols (Decision Support Framework (DSF)) for the adaptive management of Waltowa wetland, which is described in Figure 23 on page 39. The identified options of hydrological regime, which attempt to provide alternate water regimes depending on threats to the wetland and surrounding environment, are shown in Figure 24 on page 40 and Figure 25 on page 41 to Figure 28 on page 44. These options are described below (on page 40) and in the Hydrological Operational Plan (HOP) (Table 15 on page 45). The HOP also includes a basic assessment of the water volumes needed annually for each inundation option. The electronic version of the DEM was not available; therefore to obtain the water volume required at different wetland depths, a polynomial relationship was established between the depth of the water in the wetland v‟s the area (both given in the SKM Baseline Survey data) and depth v‟s volume. Equation 1 which was used to calculate the surface water area based on wetland depth, had an R2 value of 0.9894. Equation 2, established to calculate the volume at a given depth, had an R2 of 0.9991. Evaporation estimate was calculated using Equation 3, and the total annual water requirements using Equation 4. Monthly evaporation rates were calculated for each wetland depth/volume option, therefore the different annual water requirements could be calculated based on monthly hydrology regimes (see Figure 29 in Appendix G on page 67).
Equation 1: Area Equation 2: Volume
6000000 2502 . 8 depth depth
2

2000000 435 . 82

depth depth

101829 25 . 572
Pr ecipitatio n

2

Equation 3: PotentialE vaporation

SurfaceAre a

Evaporatio n

Equation 4: TotalAnnua lWater Re quirements

Volume

PotenialEv aporation

At the end of each inundation season (Decision Point 4 (DP4) in Figure 23 on page 39) a decision should be made as to which hydrology regime option is to be followed, this would be as part of an annual review of the Wetland Management Plan (WMP). An annual review of the WMP is essential for best practice management and is therefore a prerequisite in the selection of management options.

38

SPRING

Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

Fill or maintain volume of wetland
Ground Water Flow Direction O.K. NO (1)

SUMMER

DP1

Partial draw down

NO

(1)
NO

NO

(2) Continual Monitoring (weekly for first 8 weeks, monthly thereafter)

Full draw down

(2)

Salinity in irrigation area not altered due to wetland inundation to wetland inundation
NO

Aquatic Vegetation O.K. Emergent & Submerged

NO

Partial draw down and slow refill

Riparian Vegetation O.K.

NO

Revegetation

AUTUMN

NO

DP2

(1)

Partial draw down

NO

(1)
NO

NO

(2)

Full draw down

(2)

Salinity in irrigation area not altered due to wetland inundation to wetland inundation

Full draw down Dry wetland 1

Wetland Turbidity O.K. Submerged Aquatic Species O.K.

WINTER

NO

DP3

(1)

Partial draw down

NO

(1)
NO

NO

(2)

Full draw down

(2)

Salinity in irrigation area not altered due to wetland inundation to wetland inundation

SPRING (Next Year)

NO

DP4

(1)

Partial draw down

NO

(1)
NO

NO

(2)

Full draw down

(2)

Salinity in irrigation area not altered due to wetland inundation 1

Restart Management & Decision Process •Timing for full draw down is preferentially in late summer early autumn. Drying of wetland should only be performed once submerged plants have flowered, set seed &/or begin to deteriorate (see Your Wetland: Hydrology Guidelines) •Need to review Murray hardyhead requirements •Decision to dry wetland should be in consultation with experts NOTE: Wetland could dry out without management decisions being made due to a drop in Lake Levels

Sensitive Criteria

Criteria

Action

DP = Decision Point
Figure 23: Decision Support Framework (DSF) for Waltowa wetland

39

Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

(a) HYDROLOGY REGIME OPTIONS YEAR 1 As stated above the first year of inundation of Waltowa wetland will be restricted to a maximum of 0.3 meters depth, whilst monitoring is undertaken to understand the impact of inundation on the groundwater in and around the wetland area. The planned first year water levels are therefore as seen in Figure 24 below.
W a lto w a W e tla n d H yd ro lo g y - Ye a r O n e (2005 - 2006)
60

W e tla nd de pth (c m )

50 40 30 20 10 0

0

2

4

6

8

10

12

14

16

18

20

22

24

26

28

30

32

34

36

38

40

42

44

46

48

W e e k s s inc e w e tla nd inunda tion In u n d a tio n L e ve ls Mo n ito rin g D a te s

Figure 24: Water regime scenario for Waltowa wetland - Year 1

50

40

Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

(b) HYDROLOGY REGIME OPTIONS YEAR 2 (i) Option 1 For option 1 the wetland would be maintained at a depth of 0.5m, the wetland should again be monitored as rigorously as in the first year (see Figure 25 below). The potential benefits of this option include: Large wetland area (possibly double the 0.3m inundation depth). More open water, increased bird habitat. Deeper wetland, increased habitat availability. Wetting of larger riparian area, increase in bird habitat. Water reaches lignums further east in the wetland. Easier to maintain water in wetland, a deeper wetland has more volume to buffer evaporation Potential problems include: Increase potential to affect irrigation area, more hydrostatic pressure on groundwater, which may cause/add to a change in groundwater flow direction. Takes up more land in eastern part of wetland, which may not be available in the long term, depends on grazing land use. Greater/repeat chance of a blackwater event. Significantly more water required.
W a lto w a W e tla n d H yd ro lo g y - Y e a r T w o (2 0 0 6 - 2 0 0 7 )
60 50

W etlan d d ep th (cm )

40 30 20 10 0

0

2

4

6

8

10

12

14

16

18

20

22

24

26

28

30

32

34

36

38

40

42

44

46

48

W e e k s s in c e w e tla n d in u n d a tio n O p tio n 1 M o n ito rin g D a te s

Figure 25: Water regime scenario for Waltowa wetland - Year 2, Option 1

50

41

Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

(ii) Option 2 For option 2 the wetland depth would be maintained at 0.3m for most periods, with a spring inundation of 0.5m (see Figure 26 below). The 0.5m wetland depth would inundate a larger area of the eastern end of the wetland. The flood event would wet the surrounding riparian vegetation for 4 months as recommended in Your Wetland: Hydrology Guidelines (Tucker et al. 2002), and leave mudflats as an additional habitat for birds. This option would develop a permanent/semi-permanent wetland with varying water levels and therefore a more diverse habitat. The benefits of this option include: Watering of riparian vegetation, leading to healthier vegetation (needs to be monitored for salinity impact on soil and therefore riparian vegetation). Expanding aquatic vegetation (reeds). Provide mudflats as a habitat for birds. Provide extra breeding areas for fish (the duration of the flooding should take fish requirements into account). Potential problems include: Increasing salinity in wetland (more water inflow followed by evapoconcentration). Increasing soil salinity (flooding of riparian area followed by evaporation which may contribute to salt deposition on the soil depending on wetland water salinity). Fluctuating groundwater flow direction, raising of groundwater under irrigation area.
W a lto w a W e tla n d H yd ro lo g y - Ye a r T w o (2006 - 2007)
60

W e tla nd de pth (c m )

50 40 30 20 10 0

0

2

4

6

8

10

12

14

16

18

20

22

24

26

28

30

32

34

36

38

40

42

44

46

48

W e e k s s inc e w e tla nd inunda tion O p tio n 2 A O p tio n 2 B Mo n ito rin g D a te s

Figure 26: Water regime scenario for Waltowa wetland - Year 2, Option 2

50

42

Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

(iii) Option 3 For option 3 the wetland would be maintained at a depth of 0.3m (see Figure 27 below). This option would be chosen if the new hydrology regime raises the saline groundwater under the irrigation area, but is still barely within acceptable levels. Through this option, the wetland still maintains some water, although at a maximal potential impact to the irrigation. Potential advantages of this option include: By then the impact of the wetland inundation at 0.3m would be known. Adaptive management can therefore focus more clearly on other wetland issues. Known operating strategy, i.e. maintenance of water levels. There would be an established wetland boundary; land use in the surrounding area can then be adapted accordingly. First year of a two-year flowering/seed development cycle for submerged macrophytes can continue unimpeded (see Your Wetland: Hydrology Guidelines (Tucker et al. 2002)) into its second year. Potential problems include: Wetland would remain shallow. No mudflat development. Minimal watering of riparian vegetation, some riparian vegetation not being restored at all as the water would not reach the „old‟ wetland boundary.
W a lto w a W e tla n d H yd ro lo g y - Ye a r T w o (2006 - 2007)

60 50 40 30 20 10 0

W e tla nd d e pth (c m )

10

12

14

16

18

20

22

24

26

28

30

32

34

36

38

40

42

44

46

48

W e e k s s inc e w e tla nd inunda tion O p tio n 3 Mo n ito rin g D a te s

Figure 27: Water regime scenario for Waltowa wetland - Year 2, Option 3

50

0

2

4

6

8

43

Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

(iv) Option 4 For option 4 the wetland would be flooded at 0.5m or 0.3m, depending on the groundwater experiences of the first year. In summer prior to the irrigation period, the wetland would be drawn down to remove the hydrological pressure on the groundwater and therefore alleviating the rise in saline groundwater under the irrigation area (see Figure 28 below). The wetland water would therefore not compete, through the groundwater, with the additional water from the irrigation inflow. The benefits of this option include: Less hydrostatic pressure towards irrigation area. Therefore, minimal impact during the height of summer when irrigation is at its maximum. Inundated wetland with an alternating hydrology, increase in habitat as in option 2 (mudflats/temporary fish habitat for spawning) Potential problems include: Difficult to maintain water levels Degradation of fish habitat Potentially not deep enough for all waterbirds Increased evaporation, as the wetland would be more susceptible to temperature changes, and therefore evapoconcentration If the impact on the irrigation area does not hinder wetland management, options 2A, 2B and 1 are the preferred options (in order of preference), along with an adaptive management approach following the Decision Support Framework (see Figure 23 on page 39) focussed towards the maximum achievement of objectives.
W a lto w a W e tla n d H yd ro lo g y - Y e a r T w o (2 0 0 6 - 2 0 0 7 )
60 50 40 30 20 10 0

W etlan d d ep th (cm )

0

2

4

6

8

10

12

14

16

18

20

22

24

26

28

30

32

34

36

38

40

42

44

46

48

W e e k s s in c e w e tla n d in u n d a tio n O p tio n 4 A 1 O p tio n 4 A 2 O p tio n 4 B 1 O p tio n 4 B 2 M o n ito rin g D a te s

Figure 28: Water regime scenario for Waltowa wetland - Year 2, Option 4

50

44

Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005 Table 15: Hydrological Operational Plan for Waltowa Wetland and Water Allocation Requirements Depending on Options.

Option
NA

Option description
First Year. Experimental - the purpose of which is to monitor the effect wetland inundation will have on the adjacent irrigation area. Second Year. Increase wetland water levels to „Full‟ levels.

Water Levels: Timing Depth (mAHD)
0.3 September (2005)

Triggers
Degraded and dry wetland (water license).

Area (ha) *
104

Volume (ML) *
116

Potential Evaporation (ML)
1407

Total Annual Water Requirement (GL)
1.5

1

0.5

September (2006)

Successful first year inundation (i.e. not significant adverse effect to irrigation area). Maximal water body desired in wetland. Successful first year inundation (i.e. not significant adverse effect to irrigation area). Adverse effects begin to take effect at deeper wetland water levels.

240

429

3250

3.7

2

A

Second Year. Increase wetland water levels to „Full‟ levels. Maintain at this level to wet riparian vegetation (4 months of flooding is recommended in Your Wetland: Hydrology Guidelines (Tucker et al. 2002)3}). Wetland draw down to; Minimise impact on ground water flow towards Irrigation area. Develop mud flats as additional bird habitat. Second Year. Same as 2A but with an earlier draw down.

0.5 (4 months)/ 0.3 (8 months)

September (2006) December (2006)

240/104

429/116

2191

2.6

B

0.5 (2 months)/ 0.3 (10 months)

September (2006) November (2006)

Successful first year inundation (i.e. not significant adverse effect to irrigation area). Rapid and significant adverse effects begin to take effect at deeper wetland water levels. Some impact on irrigation area (agreement with irrigator to maintain current levels of inundation). Some impact on groundwater flow direction but acceptable until the irrigation period.

240/104

429/116

1645

2.1

3

Second Year. Maintain at same levels as the initial trial year.

0.3

September (2006)

104

116

1407

1.51

4

A1

Second Year. Draw down wetland volume during Irrigation Period. This may reduce impact on groundwater flow direction and therefore rising saline groundwater under the irrigation area. Second Year. Same as 4A1 but with lower initial wetland depths.

0.5 (4 months)/ 0.2 (8 months)

September (2006) December (2006)

240/54

429/34

1802

2.21

A2

0.3 (4 months)/ 0.2 (8 months)

September (2006) December (2006)

Maximal acceptable impact on groundwater flow direction in initial trial year with the exception of the irrigation period. Depends on start of irrigation period. Depends on start of irrigation period.

104/54

116/34

1018

1.11

B1 B2

Second Year. Same as 4A1 but with an earlier draw down. Second Year. Same as 4A2 but with an earlier draw down.

0.5 (2 months)/ 0.2 (10 months) 0.3 (2 months)/ 0.2 (10 months)

September (2006) November (2006) September (2006) November (2006)

240/54 104/54

429/34 116/34

1055 817

1.5 0.9

* Note the area and volume calculations were based on data from the SKM baseline survey, which was assumed have an accuracy of 75%.

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Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

Chapter 8. MONITORING
For the development of a Wetland Management Plan, Waltowa wetland was included in the River Murray Wetlands Baseline Survey (SKM 2004). The data collected during this survey provided a basis by which objectives for the wetland management could be refined, initial hydrology guidelines could be developed and review procedures scheduled. However this data did not cover all the issues related to managing Waltowa wetland. Partly as a consequence, but also as part of adaptive management and best practise wetland management, monitoring of the wetland has been devised to answer some of the unknowns to the changed hydrological regime. That is, ongoing monitoring during wetland management plays a role in adaptive management by providing managers with information on how the wetland is responding to management strategies, whether the objectives are being met, whether there are off-target implications (wetland in regional context) or (as per Your Wetland: Monitoring Manual (Tucker 2004)) whether the Golden Rules are being broken. The Golden Rules being: Don‟t salinise your wetland. Don‟t kill long lived vegetation. Don‟t destroy threatened communities or habitats of threatened species. To ensure that monitored data is available for evaluation, review and reporting, a log of all activities, monitoring and site description should be maintained at an accessible and convenient location. The data will ultimately be stored in the appropriate state government databases. See report by Hydro Tasmania (2003). The purpose of such a log is to maintain a record of management steps undertaken, their justification and observed impacts/implications. The maintenance of a log is both good management practice, allowing future reference to potential impacts of management, and a requirement of the Wetland Water License. Refer to Your Wetland: Monitoring Manual (Tucker 2004) for examples of data log sheets and further description of monitoring methods.

46

Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005 Table 16: Monitoring plan for Waltowa wetland.

Parameter
Groundwater

Method
Extra bore installation Level and Conductivity Water quality monitoring (cond, turb, temp) Surface level (using gauge boards)

Priority
HIGH HIGH

SEP OCT NOV DEC JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG Time Required Responsible
2 days- prior to first filling event
weekly weekly

2 people 1 person







half day

HIGH
weekly weekly

Surface Water







half day

1 person

HIGH  HIGH  HIGH HIGH MODERATE 1 day MODERATE MODERATE MODERATE LOW         Set up- 2 days, 0.5 hour half day (from dawn) 1 day (not including identification) 2 people 2 people 1 person 1 person  1 day 1 day- prior to first filling event     2 hours 2-3 people 2 people 2 people            0.5 hour 1 person

Fish*

Seine net, dip net (and fyke nets if deep enough) Photopoint Installation Photopoint monitoring

Vegetation

**Mapping GPS (weeds and lignum) Quadrat/line intercept

Frogs Birds Macroinvertebrates

Recording Calls Fixed area search Dip net survey

1 person

*S. Wedderburn indicated interest in incorporating Waltowa wetland into his Ph.D. studies monitoring schedule. **Note- vegetation mapping was done in the 2004 wetlands baseline survey project, yet did not define patches of dying lignum which need to be targeted in future mapping.

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Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

Chapter 9. EVALUATION, REVIEW AND REPORTING
SECTION 9.01 EVALUATION AND REVIEW
The review of the implications of changed management of Waltowa wetland needs to be an ongoing process. For the Wetland Management Plan to be an adaptive and complete document, periodic reviews have been scheduled in the monitoring and evaluation framework. As has been stated above, the implications of inundating the wetland, and the consequent effect on the groundwater flow direction from the irrigation area immediately adjacent to the wetland, are unknown. Therefore, the initial inundation of the wetland needs to be a gradual process with frequent monitoring of groundwater flow. For this purpose, additional piezometers need to be installed, an action which has been addressed in this plan. The data obtained through monitoring need to be regularly reviewed to respond to impacts of the management strategy. An annual review is also necessary for management decision in the following year (2006-2007). That is, the wetland management plan provides alternate scenarios for the management of the wetland in response to findings of the wetland inundation in the first year. The decisions as to which water regime option to follow should be made as part of this annual evaluation of monitored data and consequent review of the Wetland Management Plan, as stated in Section 7.02 on page 37. A full review of the Wetland Management Plan should be scheduled in 3 to 5 years. For the annual review to be effective it needs to include an upgrade of, the: Hydrological regime based on new knowledge and understanding. Decision Support Framework based on experiences and monitoring. Monitoring schedule to reflect changes in the Wetland Management Plan.

SECTION 9.02 REPORTING
The wetland management plan for Waltowa wetland is designed to be highly adaptive due to the lack of knowledge of the potential impact of management. The options provided are a guide to the water regime that is desired, as well as regimes that can be accepted in an attempt to fulfil the objectives of this plan. As this plan does not rigorously set out the hydrology regime to be followed, the options chosen need to be reported accurately to the Department of Water Land and Biodiversity Conservation (DWLBC). The records noted in the activity and monitoring logs will assist in reporting to DWLBC. Further as part of the requirements of the water license, any substantial change in the wetland management plan, e.g. objectives, monitoring timetable or hydrology regime change, also needs to be reported to DWLBC. That includes the lack of use of licensed water, should Lake Albert levels not be high enough to supply or maintain the planned wetland water levels.

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Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

Chapter 10. REFERENCES
Australian Treaty Series 1981 No 6 (Jamba) (1986). Accessed 16 June 2005, http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/other/dfat/treaties/1981/6.html. Australian Treaty Series 1988 No 22 (Camba) (1986). Accessed 16 June 2005, http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/other/dfat/treties/1988/22.html. Bjornsson, K. T., A. Brodie, et al. (2002). Riparian Areas and on-Farm Wetlands in the Australian Sugar Industry. CRC for Sustainable Sugar Production. Townsville Since most sugarcane production occurs on the floodplains of eastward draining river systems along Australia's northeastern seaboard, management of riparian areas and on-farm wetlands is an important challenge for the ecologically sustainable development of canegrowing districts, and also ultimately for the health of coastal waters in the vicinity of the Great Barrier Reef. Building on consultations with industry and other stakeholders, the report reviews available recent information for these areas on ecological function, rehabilitation techniques, and a range of planning and statutory devices to assist in melding best-practice agricultural production with objectives for ecological sustainability. Industry and stakeholder views on land management issues and key constraints are discussed, as are options for improved management of riparian vegetation and wetlands on-farm and within the farm business. The report also provides lists of recommended further reading. For a copy of the report, send a request to Deborah Cavanagh, Communications Officer, CRC for Sustainable Sugar Production – Deborah.Cavanagh@www-sugar.jcu.edu.au BOM (2005). Climate Averages. Accessed 18 March 2005, www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/tables/cw_024518.shtml. Coorong District LAP, Goolwa to Wellington LAP Board, et al. (1999). Coorong and Lower Lakes Floodplain Rehabilitation. Progress report, Coorong, and Lakes Alexandrina and Albert Ramsar Management Plan (2000). South Australian Department for Environment and Heritage. Adelaide Croucher, D. (2005). Personal Communication. Dadd, D. (2005). Personal Communication. Contracted Ornithologist for the South Australian Department for Environment and Heritage (Deh). Department of Water Land and Biodiversity Conservation (2005). A4261057: Lake Albert @ Meningie Sailing Club Jetty - Daily Read. Accessed 3 August 2005, http://www.dwlbc.sa.gov.au/subs/surface_water_archive/sites/a4261057/a4261057.htm. Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999). Fiebig, P. (2005). Personal Communication. Landholder Waltowa Wetlands. Gates, G. (2005). Personal Communication. Coorong District Lap. Goonan, P. (2005). Personal Communication. Phone discussion about the report Suter et. al. 1993

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Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

Gosbell, K. (2004). Waterbird Surveys around the Shoreline of Lake Alexandrina and Lake Albert January 2003 to February 2004 in Response to a Drawdown in Water Levels. Department for Environment and Heritage. Draft Report 14-4-04, South East Region, South Australia Hydro Tasmania (2003). River Murray Wetlands Data Management Project Final Report. River Murray Catchment Water Management Board. Jensen, A. (1999). Proposal for Improvement of Environmental Health of Waltowa Swamp: A Report for the Coorong and Lower Lakes Floodplain Rehabilitation Project. Wetland Care Australia. Berri, South Australia Jensen, A., P. Paton, et al. (1996). Wetlands Atlas of the South Australian Murray Valley. South Australian River Murray Wetlands Management Committee. South Australian Department of Environment and Natural Resources. ADELAIDE Jolly, I. and K. Holland (2005). Personal Communication. Senior Groundwater Scientist: Csiro. McClure, B. (2005). Personal Communication. Landholder Waltowa Wetlands. Tatiara Station. National Parks and Wildlife Council and Department for Environment and Heritage (2003). 2003 Review of the Status of Threatened Species in South Australia: Proposed Schedules under the South Australian National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972. Government of South Australia. Discussion Paper, National Wetlands Program (1998). Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (Convention on Wetlands of International Importance). Accessed 7 October 1999, http://www.anca.gov.au/environm/wetlands/ramindex.html. Peck, D. (2000). The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands: The Annotated Ramsar List: Australia. Accessed 27 April 2005, http://www.ramsar.org/profiles_australia.htm. Pressey, R. L. (1986). Wetlands of the River Murray. River Murray Commission. River Murray Catchment Water Management Board (2002). Water Allocation Plan for the River Murray Prescribed Watercourse. Government of South Australia. Berri, South Australia River Murray Catchment Water Management Board and Department of Water Land and Biodiversity Conservation (2003). Guidelines for Development of Wetland Management Plans for the River Murray in South Australia. Seaman, R. L. (2003). Coorong and Lower Lakes Habitat-Mapping Program., Department for Environment and Heritage. Conservation Programs, South Australia SKM (2004). River Murray Wetlands Baseline Survey. South Australian Murray Darling Basin Natural Resources Management Board. South Australian River Murray Wetlands Management Committee (1996). Management of Wetlands of the River Murray Valley: Draft Action Plan 1996-1999. Wetlands Management Program: Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Adelaide Tesoriero, J. (2005). Personal Communication.

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Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

Thompson, M. B. (1986). River Murray Wetlands, Their Characteristics, Significance and Management. Department of Environment and Planning and Nature Conservation Society of S.A. Adelaide Trevorrow, T. and M. Rigney (2005). Personal Communication. Ngarrindjeri Elder. Tucker, P. (2004). Your Wetland: Monitoring Manual - Data Collection. River Murray Catchment Water Management Board, Australian Landscape Trust. Renmark SA Tucker, P., S. Dominelli, et al. (2003). Your Wetland: Supporting Information. Australian Landscape Trust. Renmark SA Tucker, P., M. Harper, et al. (2002). Your Wetland: Hydrology Guidelines. Australian Landscape Trust. Renmark SA Wedderburn, S. (2005). Personal Communication. Ph.D. Student: University of Adelaide. Wedderburn, S. and M. Hammer (2003). The Lower Lakes Fish Inventory:Distribution and Conservation of Freshwater Fishes of the Rasmar Convention Wetland at the Terminus of the Murray Darling Basin, South Australia. Native Fish Australia (SA) Inc. Adelaide Williams, G. and R. Williams (2005). Personal Communication. Landholder Waltowa Wetlands. Wright, W. (2005). Personal Communication. Landholder Waltowa Wetlands.

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Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

Appendix A. Wetlands Atlas Data for Wetland Main Body
Table 17: Waltowa wetland, Wetland atlas data (Jensen et al. 1996)
Area Perimeter Wetlands_ Wetlands_i As2482 Aus_wetlan Thom_wetla Thom_chang Wetland_na Complex_na Cons_value Mdbc_distn Water_regi Internatio National Basin Valley High_conse Moderate_c Low_conser Should_rea Should_ass Y WALTOWA SWAMP LAKE ALBERT FRINGING WETLAND 1 2 PERMANENT/TEMPORARY COMBINATION 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 0 5723403.396 28198.50772 849 848 44190 S0027

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Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

Appendix B. Baseline Survey Locations (Source SKM (2004)

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Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

Appendix C. Baseline Survey DEM (Source SKM (2004)

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Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

Appendix D. Baseline Survey Groundwater Bore Logs & Flow Direction

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Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

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Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

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Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

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Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

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Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

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Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

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Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

Appendix E. Baseline Survey Vegetation Zones

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Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

Appendix F.

Species List for Waltowa Wetland

SECTION F.01 FLORA
This species list (Table 18) has been derived from the River Murray Wetlands Baseline Survey (SKM 2004).
Table 18: Plant Associations at Waltowa wetland (adapted from River Murray Wetlands Baseline Survey (SKM 2004))

Species

Common Name Introduced

Conservati on Rating

Plant Association * 1 2 3

AUS

Atriplex semibaccata Avena barbata Bromus diandrus Cirsium vulgare Cotula bipinnata Critesion marinum

Berry Saltbush Bearded Oat Great Brome Spear Thistle Ferny Cotula Sea Barley-grass X X X X X

MU U X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X R X X X X X X X X X X X 14 71 9 56 4 25
63

Enchylaena tomentosa var. Ruby Saltbush tomentosa Halosarcia pergranulata Black-seed Samphire ssp. pergranulata Lolium rigidum Lycium ferocissium Wimmera Rygrass African Boxthorn X X X X X X

Medicago polymorpha var. Burr-medic polymorpha Melilotus indica Muehlenbeckia florulenta Parapholis incurva Polypogon monspeliensis Puccinellia stricta stricta King Island Melilot Lignum Curly Ryegrass Annual Beard-grass var. Australian Saltmarsh-grass Beaded Samphire

Sarcocornia quinqueflora

Sclerolaena muricata var. Five-spine Bindyi villosa Senecio runcinifolius Soncus oleraceus Spergularia marina Total species % introduced Common Sow-thistle Salt Sand-spurrey X X

SA R

Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005
* Plant association: 1. Muehlenbeckia florulenta Open Shrubland over Halosarcia pergranulata ssp. pergranulata 2. Halosarcia pergranulata ssp. pergranulata Closed Shrubland 3. Halosarcia pergranulata ssp. pergranulata Low Open Shrubland

SECTION F.02 WETLAND AND FLOODPLAIN FAUNA
(a) BIRDS OF WALTOWA SURROUNDS AND LOWER LAKES
Table 19: Water birds at 23 sites bordering Lakes Alexandrina and Albert (adapted from (Gosbell 2004))

WATERFOWL
Hoary Head Grebe Australasian Grebe Great Crested Grebe Little Pied Cormorant Little Black Cormorant Great Black Cormorant Pied Cormorant Black Faced Cormorant Australian Darter Australian Pelican Little Egret Intermediate Egret Great Egret White Faced Heron Australasian Bittern Royal Spoonbill Yellow -billed Spoonbill Straw-necked Ibis Australian White Ibis Glossy Ibis Cape Barren Goose Black swan Australian Shelduck Freckled Duck Wood Duck Hardhead Pacific Black Duck Australasian Shoveler Grey Teal Chestnut Teal Pink- eared Duck

Number Observed
200 14 990 551 3306 20839 7736 77 64 9869 11 36 344 153 2 202 311 3250 1114 256 1921 10011 26890 716 127 941 8520 1400 28478 962 921

WADERS
Latham's Snipe Black-tailed Godwit Bar-tailed Godwit Godwit Spp. Little Curlew Whimbrel Eastern Curlew Marsh Sandpiper Common Greenshank Wood Sandpiper Terek Sandpiper Common Sandpiper Grey-tailed Tattler Wandering Tattler Great Knot Red Knot Knot spp. Sanderling Red-Necked Stint Sharp-tailed Sandpiper Curlew Sandpiper Bush-stone Curlew Beach-stone Curlew Pied Oystercatcher Sooty Oystercatcher Black-winged Stilt Banded Stilt Red-necked Avocet Pacific Golden Plover Grey Plover Double-Banded Plover

Number Observed
0 1 0 0 0 0 0 132 173 32 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5498 2533 195 0 0 0 0 1460 345 635 3 0 152

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Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005
Blue-billed Duck Musk Duck Spotless Crake Australian Crake Baillon's Crake Buff-banded Rail Eurasian Coot Dusky Moorhen Purple Swamphen Blacktailed Native hen Pacific Gull Silver Gull Gull-billed Tern Crested Tern Caspian Tern Little Tern Fairy Tern Whiskered Tern 0 6 2 3 0 0 64325 7 1080 2 0 5155 7 1424 2001 164 6 18704 Lesser Sand Plover Sand Plover Spp. Oriental Plover Black-Fronted Dotterel Hooded Plover Red-Kneed Dotterel Banded Lapwing Red-capped Plover Masked Lapwing Unidentified Large Unidentified Meduim Unidentified Small Unidentified WaderSpecies Other Wader Species 0 0 0 6 0 64 49 256 2576 0 0 192 0 7

TOTAL WATERFOWL

223,165

TOTAL WADERS TOTAL WATERBIRDS

14,945 238,110

(b) MACROINVERTEBRATES Macroinvertebrates collected at Waltowa as part of the River Murray Wetlands Baseline Survey (SKM 2004) (table adapted from River Murray Wetlands Baseline Survey (SKM 2004))
Table 20: Macroinvertebrate taxa and abundance (SKM 2004)
Common Name

Taxa (family level unless indicated otherwise)
Turbellaria (Class)

Abundance

Functional Feeder Group

Status

1 5 271 57 3 156 1 120 1 41 1 14 66 Predator Gatherer Gatherer Gatherer Gatherer Gatherer Scraper

Unsegmented worms Segmented worm Coiled snail Freshwater spiders Scuds, sideswimmers Yabby

Nematoda (Phylum) Oligochaeta (Class) Planorbidae Oribatida Ceinidae Parastacidae Janiridae Odonata (Order)

Water boatmen

Corixidae Mesoveliidae

Small water strider Non-biting midges,

Veliidae Chironominae (Subfamily)

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Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005
bloodworms Mosquito Larvae Non-biting midges, bloodworm Culicidae Orthocladiinae (Subfamily) Psychodidae Sciomyzidae Soldier fly Non-biting bloodworms Diving beetle Scavenger water beetle Total abundance Total number of taxa Signal2 midges, Stratiomyidae Tanypodinae (Subfamily) Dytiscidae Hydrophilidae 835 21 2.71 2 65 8 14 5 1 1 2 Gatherer Predator Predator General Gatherer General

Those recorded by Thompson (1986) include amphipods Ceinidae, ostracd\ods, calanoid copepods, cladocerans Dapnia carinata sp., corixids Micronecta sp., notonectids Anisops sp., water beetles Dytiscidae and larvae of Hydrophilidae, Oligochaetes, larvae of chironomids and damselflies Lestidae. (c) FROGS
Table 21: Frogs recorded at Waltowa (SKM 2004)
Common Name Brown Tree Frog Common Eastern Froglet Spotted Grass Frog Scientific Name Litoria ewingi 16/12/03 29/01/04 12/03/04 02/09/04 2 Status

Crinia signifera

3

Limnodynastes tasmaniensis

1

1 2 3 4

One Few (2-9) Many (10-50) Lots (>50)

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Waltowa Wetland Management Plan 2005

Appendix G. Water Allocation Requirement: Option Dependent

0 .6

0 .5

GL required per m onth

0 .4

0 .3

0 .2

0 .1
O p tio n 4 B 2 O p tio n 4 B 1 O p tio n 4 A 2

0 .0 Sep O ct Nov Dec

O p tio n 4 A 1 O p tio n 2 B O p tio n 2 A O p tio n 3 & Y e a r 1

Jan

Feb

M ar

M o n th

Apr

M ay

O p tio n 1

Jun

Jul

Aug

O p tio n 1

O p tio n 3 & Y e a r 1

O p tio n 2 A

O p tio n 2 B

O p tio n 4 A 1

O p tio n 4 A 2

O p tio n 4 B 1

O p tio n 4 B 2

Figure 29: Water Allocation Requirement over a year for each hydrology regime option

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