Limestone Coast and Coorong
The coast and Coorong is one of the great natural features of the region. Many people who call the region home may not realise that the coastal, estuarine and marine environment is very unique, not only in the state but across Australia.
The Limestone Coast and Coorong provides many social, cultural and economic benefits to the community with tourism and fishing being some of the largest industries in the region. The coastal and marine environments are focal points for recreational pursuits such as fishing, diving, camping, off road driving, boating, surfing, swimming and bushwalking.
The Limestone and Coorong coast extends from the Victorian border, 417 km to the mouth of the Murray River. At the lower end (closer to Victorian border) is a rugged and beautiful coastline and the famous cave, sinkhole and wetland systems and dune ranges. This section hosts a number of seaside communities including the larger townships of Port MacDonnell, Beachport, Robe and Kingston. North of Kingston is the world famous Coorong which stretches to the Murray River mouth.
Our unique and diverse coastal environment has several distinctly different ecosystems that are home to a range of animals and plants, many unique to this part of the coast. The region also has widespread network of old and new dune fields which are popular for 4WDs. The Robe Ranges and Canunda Dunes are the most prominent outer dune barriers and made up of dunes, limestone cliffs and headlands which break the shoreline into bays.
The large stretches of the central Canunda beaches contain many capes and offshore reefs providing protection from high energy swells and prevailing south westerly winds to smaller sections of the coastline.This creates different habitats for marine life, as well as safe harbor for fishing vessels at Kingston, South End, Carpenter Rocks, Port MacDonnell, and Robe; which is especially important for the region’s Southern Rock Lobster Industry.
Exposed coastal areas experience storm surges and very high wave energy as a result of the south and south-westerly aspect and subsequent southern ocean swell. Strong beach erosion and foredune scarping are a direct consequence of this during the winter seasons.
Did you know?
- The unique Bonney Upwelling is an amazing oceanic event which occurs between December and May each year. Offshore constant winds and currents from the continental shelf produce cold, dense, nutrient rich waters which result in this marine environment having some of the most productive waters in Australia.
- Estuaries are also highly productive systems where water from the land meets and mixes with the sea. Eight estuaries have been identified within the region.
- The entire Limestone Coast provides a unique record of Aboriginal history. In years past Aboriginal people lived along the coast and used the sea and the coastal waters as a food source. Middens are large mounds of shell remains from molluscs eaten by Aboriginal communities and are sacred sites along the coast.
Issues and threats
- Coastal weeds (particularly polygala, Coastal Teatree, seawheat grass, buckthorn, bridal creeper and African boxthorn) compete for the same resources as native coastal vegetation.
- Introduced species such as rabbits, foxes, cats and deer can create a threat to native coastal flora and fauna.
- Off road vehicles on beaches and sand dunes can contribute to erosion, native vegetation decline and loss of habitat particularly for nesting and feeding shorebirds.
- Stormwater and industrial runoff releases excess nutrients and pollutants into the marine environment, posing a threat to fragile marine habitats such as seagrass.
- Marine debris from land based plastics and fishing gear have a severe impact on marine species. Seabirds and marine mammals can become entangled in discarded tackle or ingest floating plastics.
- Inappropriate development along the coast can lead to vegetation clearance and beach/dune loss, increasing the pressure placed on the natural environment