Wakefield River Catchment

Wakefield River Catchment is located in the Mid North Region of South Australia, approximately 100 km north of Adelaide (Figure 3.1) and has a catchment area of 690 km2. The local governments within the catchment are the Wakefield Regional Council, and the Clare and Gilbert Valleys Council.

One of three main ephemeral rivers in the Mid North, the Wakefield River catchment is flanked to the north by the Broughton River catchment and to the south by the Light River catchment.

The Wakefield River flows in a southerly direction through Auburn before turning west to flow through Balaklava and into the Port Wakefield estuary. Its major tributaries are the Eyre, Skillogalee, Pine, Rices, Hermitage and Woolshed Flat Creeks.

Most of the catchment has undergone significant vegetation change since agricultural development. Mallee scrub has been extensively cleared on the coastal and inland plains, as has grassy woodland and grassland vegetation in the ranges. Based on floristic vegetation mapping. it is estimated that remnant vegetation covers less than 10% of the catchment.

Rabbits, weeds, woodcutting and grazing have degraded remnant native vegetation, particularly the understorey layer.

Annual grasses and weeds have replaced most understorey species.

Along watercourses, due to past erosion and sedimentation, the predominant in-stream vegetation includes the emergent reeds, Phragmites australis and Typha spp. that form dense and often impenetrable reed beds.