Natural wetlands were once widespread across our city before European settlement. They provided a home for local wildlife and many migratory bird species that visit from interstate and overseas.

Most natural wetlands were drained and cleared to use the land for farming and housing.

The loss of natural wetlands was so large within our city, only the Washpool Lagoon at Aldinga Beach and parts of the Onkaparinga Estuary remain close to their natural state. They are still important habitats, providing a home for migratory shorebirds in spring and summer. The Washpool Lagoon is now listed as a wetland of national significance.

Wetlands are being recognised more and more in the roles they play. New housing developments are now having wetlands designed into their drainage system to help slow down and clean water before it flows into rivers or the sea. 

Our city has built 18 wetlands, designed to provide the following benefits:

  • improve water quality
  • improve seasonal water availability
  • reduce erosion through the capture, storage and slow release of water when it is needed
  • carbon storage within the soil and living plants
  • provide home for native wildlife including birds, frogs and reptiles
  • provide recreational, educational and tourism opportunities.

To maintain their function and health, wetlands need to be managed. This is what we do: 

  • control weeds that can push out other native plants that wreck homes for wildlife and block drainage
  • control or reduce native reeds that can grow excessively due to high nutrient levels
  • remove rubbish, debris and silt
  • introduce wildlife habitat such as logs and rocks
  • work with passionate volunteers who help look after our natural areas
  • teach others about our amazing plants and animals.

Byards Road Wetlands at Reynella East were constructed in 2013 to allow rainwater to be stored in the aquifer. This reserve has now attracted more than 100 different species of birds.


Pied stilt at Washpool Lagoon, Aldinga Beach


Washpool Lagoon at Aldinga Beach is one of the last remaining coastal lagoons of its type along the metropolitan Adelaide coastline