Coastal and marine ecosystems

Our marine and coastal environments support many species unique to southern Australia as well as tourism, commercial and recreational fishing.

The region includes the coastal waters of Gulf St Vincent, Willunga, Goolwa and Victor Harbor. These coast and marine environments provide an important habitat, nursery and feeding grounds for an incredible variety of aquatic and terrestrial life.


Everyone is responsible for the environment in which we live, but unfortunately we don’t all understand or appreciate the value of our natural resources, or know how our actions impact on them. Volunteers play a major role. Their contribution of time, energy, expertise, equipment and resources is extremely valuable. But more hands are always needed. Please visit our volunteer page for opportunities.

Coastal conservation

A major part of coast and estuary conservation work involves revegetating degraded areas with local native plants, controlling invasive pests and fencing to minimise impacts. This is achieved through partnerships with coastal community groups, local government and state agency coastal managers.

Plant a coastal garden

You can have your own healthy and attractive coastal garden using native plants. The award winning Coastal gardens - a planting guide helps you choose plants that thrive in the harsh coastal environment. If you live within three kilometres of the coast, your garden can face many challenges – salt spray, sand blasting and sandy or saline soils. The guide is tailored for metropolitan Adelaide and its outer regions (Middleton to Mallala) and provides step-by-step advice on selecting, planting and caring for local native coastal plants. There are four landscape designs to inspire you!

Marine environments

The health of our seas are affected by the things we do on land. Land-based impacts to marine habitats such as reefs and seagrass meadows, include nutrients and sediments from stormwater, wastewater and industrial discharges.

A report, Nearshore marine habitats of the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges NRM region: values, threats and actions, 2013, aimed to increase awareness of these impacts and help prioritise work with partners such as local councils, other state agencies and the community, building on the region’s coastal action plans. Considerable work has been done to address many of these issues.

The report identified locations where there is potentially a threat to nearshore habitats from a land-based discharge, and recognises existing programs seeking to mitigate these threats. One program is a seagrass rehabilitation trial which represents an opportunity for recovery and protection of habitats.

Reef, seagrass and mudflats

The Department for Environment and Water has worked with scientists, multiple government agencies and other organisations to find ways of improving reef and seagrass ecosystem health. Through monitoring and investigating marine habitats, we can help ensure that the condition of reefs and seagrass meadows is preserved and maintained.