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Southern Fleurieu

Water:  Sustainable livestock grazing

Medium Priority

What is this issue

Over-grazing and pugging - by livestock (managed grazing) affecting aquatic habitat including swamps. 

Impacts of the issue

  • Decline and loss of palatable and grazing-sensitive species
  • Increased risk of erosion and weed invasion
  • Decline in condition of native vegetation and suitability of habitat for native species


  • Stock access to watercourses and aquatic ecosystems
  • Low priority for landholders to install fences
  • Value of waterways for summer grazing


  • Lack of extension officers
  • Collapse of Landcare
  • Insufficient resources for these activities
  • Not equal recognition of these ecosystems compared to the River Murray in this NRM region (historical politics and culture with change from Catchment Groups to NRM model). Swamps investment predominantly came from AMLR region and little contribution from SAMDB region
  • Diversity and number of landholders

Climate impacts and adaptation needs

A decline in available water resources may increase the difficulty of restoring swamps and other aquatic habitat.

Who plays a role

  • Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources
  • Landholders
  • Local Action Planning and Landcare groups
  • Primary Industries and Regions SA
  • SA Murray-Darling Basin Natural Resources Management Board 
  • Tourism Industry (regarding raising awareness of values)

Strategies and Actions

Assist landholders in the management of swamps and aquatic habitat

  • Promote the fencing of swamps and priority reaches to manage livestock grazing impacts
  • Deliver landholder extension to increase skills in ecosystem restoration, including weed management and strategic grazing
  • Better integrate watercourse management with whole property management e.g. grazing management, fencing locations, weed management, water source management etc.)
  • Improve landholder understanding of the importance and management needs of swamps and watercourses, targeting new landholders

Improve our understanding of the management needs of swamps

  • Investigate appropriate disturbance regimes for the Fleurieu Swamps (including options for individual sites)
  • Prioritise areas/reaches for fencing and active management (including disturbance needs of individual sites)

Raise community awareness of the ecosystem values of swamps and aquatic ecosystems

  • Promote the unique values of these ecosystems to the public, through tourism opportunities, open more public places for recreation to expose the community to these beautiful habitats in order to elevate the community‚Äôs value of these systems and improve political favour to restore them
  • Educate the general community about the value of these habitats and their management. Highlight the benefits to the community and importance of linkage for species and resilience to climate change