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Fencing project helps Lower Lakes recovery

27 May, 2010

A fencing project to keep livestock away from exposed lakebeds in South Australia's Lower Lakes region is helping to protect important vegetation and bioremediation works, Federal Minister for Water Penny Wong and Minister for Environment & Conservation Paul Caica has said.

The Lower Lakes Fencing Program will result in almost 150 kilometres of fencing around the shorelines of Lake Alexandrina and Lake Albert, with 80 kilometres of fencing worth nearly $1 million already completed. More than 50 lakeside landowners have received funding of up to $6,000 per kilometre to construct post and wire fences on their properties.

The program is part of the Federal Government's $10 million Lower Lakes Bioremediation and Revegetation Project, which is being supported by South Australia's Department of Environment and Heritage.

"Significant areas of shorelines around Lake Alexandrina and Lake Albert have been exposed due to record low inflows in recent years," Senator Wong said.

"It is vital for livestock to be kept away from these exposed lakebeds so they don't come into contact with acidic soils and water, and so they don’t eat vegetation growing on the lakebeds.

"The program adds to the Rudd Government’s $200 million commitment to South Australia for the development of a long-term solution to the environmental problems facing the Lower Lakes and Coorong."

Minister Caica said livestock damage to vegetation can impede efforts to stop erosion and reduce the risk of acidification.

"A second stage of the fencing program has begun with funding now available for fencing in the Goolwa Channel, Finniss River and Currency Creek tributaries," he said.

"Additional funding is also being considered to enable even more landowners to fence their shoreline boundaries."

Both governments have worked closely with the Coorong District Local Action Planning Committee, the Goolwa to Wellington Local Action Planning Association and the Lower Lakes community to ensure the success of this project.

The Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority has also played an important role through the provision of heritage clearances for the fencing work.

Senator Wong acknowledged the role of the Australian Greens in developing the bioremediation initiative as part of the passage of the Nation Building and Jobs Plan through the Senate during 2009.    

Source: Minister for Climate Change, Energy Efficiency & Water

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