Save St Kilda Mangroves

Latest Update

2 February 2023

Wow! There has been SO MUCH work going on to try and understand the situation in the mangroves over the last year! 

Researchers from Flinders University and University of Adelaide have published the results of their studies using Open Access or University hosting so the papers can be accessed by everyone at no cost:

Effects of Extreme Salinity Stress on a Temperate Mangrove EcosystemMangrove forests provide essential ecosystem services, but are threatened by habitat loss, effects of climatic change and chemical pollutants. Hypersalinity can also lead to mangrove mortality, although mangroves are adapted to saline habitats. A recent dieback event of >9 ha of temperate mangrove (Avicennia marina) in South Australia allowed to evaluate the generality of anthropogenic impacts on mangrove ecosystems. We carried out multidisciplinary investigations, combining airborne remote sensing with on-ground measurements to detect the extent of the impact. The mangrove forest was differentiated into “healthy,” “stressed,” and “dead” zones using airborne LIDAR, RGB and hyperspectral imagery. Differences in characteristics of trees and soils were tested between these zones. Porewater salinities of >100 were measured in areas where mangrove dieback occurred, and hypersalinity persisted in soils a year after the event, making it one of the most extreme hypersalinity cases known in mangrove. Sediments in the dieback zone were anaerobic and contained higher concentrations of sulfate and chloride. CO2 efflux from sediment as well as carbon stocks in mangrove biomass and soil did not differ between the zones a year after the event. Mangrove photosynthetic traits and physiological characteristics indicated that mangrove health was impacted beyond the immediate dieback zone. Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), photosynthetic rate, stomatal conductance and transpirati...

E Leyden at the Acid Sulfate Soils Centre at University of Adelaide has produced a conceptual understanding of the hydrogeology of the site. Click on the link below to see the report.

Coming soon!  Conservation SA is working on the writeup of the Community Vision Workshop that was held  to envision the future of the coastline along the southern parts of the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary, Winaityinaityi Pangkara.  The report is due out shortly.  Keep coming back to this website for updates and remember that there are even more updates, live as they happen, on our social media feeds.

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The St Kilda Mangrove Die-off

What is happening?

Our beautiful tidal wetlands (mangroves and Commonwealth EPBC Act protected saltmarshes) surrounding the St Kilda Mangrove Boardwalk have been sickening and dying since mid 2020.

The nearby decommissioned gypsum ponds were filled with hyper-saline brines. Gypsum, lining the old ponds, had rotted after sitting empty for seven years and now the ponds are leaking and mobilising acidic materials from underneath the gypsum crust.


The SA Department of Energy & Mines regulate all the ponds as part of the Dry Creek Saltfields and the SA Department for the Environment manage the National Park next to the gypsum ponds.

Both departments have allowed this catastrophic impact to continue unchecked, merely measuring the impact, rather than being proactive and starting efforts to halt the ongoing leakage occurring from underneath the irreparably damaged gypsum crust.


Sign Now

The St Kilda Mangroves need your help right now

Please sign, and share the petition for the South Australian Government to act immediately to minimise the damage done to the St Kilda Mangrove Forest through the continuing leaking of hyper-saline liquid from the adjoining gypsum ponds. 

So far the impact continues, no one is admitting it is an ongoing disaster, no one is taking responsibility and the environment is losing ground (and ability to repair itself) daily. [28-12-2020]

Peri Coleman  (CONSULTANT, DELTA ENVIRONMENTAL CONSULTING)