The Wetland Book pp 1909-1919 | Cite as

The Coorong: Murray-Darling River Basin (Australia)

  • Peter Gell
Reference work entry


The Coorong is a long, narrow back-barrier lagoon near the mouth of the River Murray, Australia. It was accorded the status of a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention in 1985 when it was described as a shallow, brackish-to-hypersaline lagoon. Historically the lagoon has played an important role as habitat for waterbird and fish populations, in particular migratory wading bird species covered under international agreements, underpinned by extensive seagrass beds. Evidence of long term change reveals the Coorong to have been a highly tidal system for several thousand years but was substantially affected by water diversions in the catchment and the construction of end-of-system barrages in 1940. These changes have seen declines in seagrass cover and associated birds and fish, exacerbated by an extended dry period in recent years with the Coorong experiencing extreme hypersalinity and consequent change in its perceived natural ecological character. The extended record of change reveals the Coorong to be outside its historical range of variability and the challenge to restore its condition is considerable.


Ramsar Estuary Water diversion Migratory waders Ruppia Paleolimnology 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Water Research NetworkFederation University AustraliaBallaratAustralia

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