New alert for St Kilda Mangroves as poisoning returns

The St Kilda Mangroves Alliance is calling for the immediate pumping out of the leaking pond adjacent to the St Kilda mangroves, as winter rains have recreated the same dangerous conditions that caused the poisoning last year.


MEDIA RELEASE
19 August 2021

New alert for St Kilda Mangroves as poisoning returns

The St Kilda Mangroves Alliance is calling for the immediate pumping out of the leaking pond adjacent to the St Kilda mangroves, as winter rains have recreated the same dangerous conditions that caused the poisoning last year.

“Twelve months ago, local community members first alerted the authorities to the poisoning of the mangroves at St Kilda,” said Conservation SA Chief Executive Craig Wilkins.

“They pleaded for the toxic salty brine to be urgently removed from leaking salt fields ponds right next door to the St Kilda Mangroves boardwalk.

“But nothing happened for months. By then the salt had crystallised and it became incredibly hard to pump out the fluid.  As a result, much of the salt is still in the pond.

“Now, a year later, history is horribly repeating itself.

“The St Kilda Mangroves Alliance is calling on the State Government to act quickly and use the opportunity of the winter rains to clear as much of the toxic salty brine as possible before more damage occurs.

“Otherwise, next winter we will be right back to square one again and the whole damaging cycle will repeat,” he said.

Local resident and leading salt fields ecology expert Peri Coleman has been pushing for action ever since she first noticed damage to the mangroves early last year.

“The heavy winter rains have filled the leaking pond again and remobilised the salt,” said Ms Coleman. 

“Without immediate action the salty brine will again leak out to the adjacent mangroves and salt marsh area.

“But the rains are both a blessing and a curse.

“While they increase the risk of more damage, they also provide the best opportunity to clear the salt out of the pond – but only if we act quickly.

“It is essential the authorities move fast before the salt starts to crystallise again. Pumping needs to start today,” she said.

“It’s incredibly frustrating the government and the company don’t appear to have learnt their mistakes from last time.

“The quicker they respond, the cheaper and easier it is to pump, and the less damage occurs.

“The good news is: if the salty water is pumped out over the next few weeks the next time we get heavy rains the leaking pond will still fill up and leak, but this time the water will be much less saline and damage to the mangroves far less likely.   

“Then the recovery of this precious sanctuary and nature reserve can begin,” she said.

RELEASE ENDS

Alliance Organisations include:

Conservation Council of South Australia, St Kilda & Surrounds Progress & Tourism Association, RecFish SA, Port Adelaide Residents Environment Protection Group, Landcare SA, Trees for Life SA, Nature Conservation Society South Australia, Friends of Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary, Birdlife Australia, Friends of Parks, Estuary Care Foundation, Friends of Gulf St Vincent, Birds SA, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, Butterfly Conservation SA, Airborne Research Australia, Delta Environmental Consulting, EcoProTem, Friends of Tennyson Dunes and Marine Life Society of SA.

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Contact Conservation SA on (08) 8223 5155, [email protected], or at our offices at the Joinery at 111 Franklin Street, Adelaide.

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