Little Para River, Burton Rd
2008 Aquatic Ecosystem Condition Report
- Severely affected by urban development and stormwater.
- Extensive bank erosion and limited in-stream vegetation.
- Limited riparian zone invaded by weeds.
- River was dry at time of inspection in October 2008.
About the location
The Little Para River is formed by a large network of streams that rise in the Mount Lofty Ranges around Lower Hermitage and to the north of Inglewood. The river flows into the Little Para Reservoir, near Gould Creek, and Salisbury before discharging into the Port River marine environment at Swan Alley Creek.
Urban development covers 38% of the upstream catchment; livestock grazing is also a major land use (31%) and 16% of the area has been retained as remnant native vegetation; small areas of forestry, mining and horticulture also occur.
The site selected for monitoring was located off Burton Road at Burton, on the floodplain of the river’s lower reaches.
The creek was given a Very Poor rating at this site because the ecosystem showed evidence of major changes to both the animal and plant life. There had been a significant breakdown in the way the ecosystem functions because of urban development, extensive erosion and limited vegetation.
The river was dry when it was inspected in October 2008 and there were no signs of any recent flow events in the creek. The channel was several metres across and deeply incised; more than 50% of the banks showed evidence of active erosion from stormwater surges entering the creek from the surrounding urban area.
Patches of Sea Clubrush (Bolboschoenus caldwellii) growing alongside a stormwater pipe, was the only aquatic vegetation found in the channel.
The creek was lined by large River Red Gums which grew over low grasses and weeds such as kikuyu, oats, soursobs, fennel and cycads.
Urban housing covered the surrounding landscape.
Special environmental features
Pressures and management responses
|Stormwater runoff causing high water velocities, containing nutrients and sediments (causing habitat disturbance, algal growth and aquatic weeds).||The Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges NRM Board has a well developed stormwater quality improvement, harvesting and reuse program which has installed (and maintains) gross pollutant (and silt) traps in several watercourses across the region to catch litter, debris and silt in order to minimise impacts and damage to seagrass in the receiving marine environment. Stormwater captured is also treated through artificial wetlands across the region which act as suspended solid and nutrient filters; these wetlands also provide important habitat for many native species.|
|Extensive weed growth in the riparian zone at the site and upstream (reducing habitat quality).||The Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges NRM Board has several pest plant (weed) mitigation and control programs. They work closely with landholders to control weeds on their property and to help stop the spread to other properties and waterways.|
|Limited riparian zone vegetation at the site and upstream, providing minimal buffer protection from catchment landuses (reducing habitat quality).||The Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges NRM Board’s land management program encourages and promotes managing land to improve water quality. This includes incentives for revegetation programs around waterways and wetlands and stock exclusion as well as educating landholders about the importance of riparian vegetation in managing soil erosion.|
This aquatic ecosystem condition report is based on monitoring data collected by the EPA and prepared in conjunction with the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges NRM Board.