What you might think a swamp looks like...
The word ‘swamp’ might make you think of somewhere dark and gloomy, filled with swamp monsters. But, it’s not all killer frogs and man-eating plants… actually, it’s not that at all. In fact, swamps are more likely to be filled with beautiful plants and small, clear pools of water, instead of any creature that might eat you or your cows. Although they do have insect eating plants!
“You can go in there in the middle of summer when the paddocks are just dusty dry and the swamp is absolutely verdant green – it’s an absolute menagerie of nature.” – Kym, hobby farmer.
What swamps actually look like...
The Fleurieu Swamps are water-dependent ecosystems that support a diverse range of plants and animals. They used to line most water courses of the Fleurieu Peninsula but unfortunately now there are only fragments left. These isolated sections of swamp are only about 1-5 hectares in size.
Swamps are valued for a variety of reasons including their ability to act as a natural water filter, which improves water quality moving downstream or recharging groundwater. They also prevent erosion by slowing water flows.
Even though the Fleurieu Swamps are severely fragmented, they still provide valuable habitat for a broad range of fauna such as birds and bats, which are important in controlling pest insects.
Of course, these aren’t the only benefits – if you’d like to read more, check out ‘The value of Fleurieu Swamps’ fact sheet.
The definition of a swamp is fairly broad but generally all have waterlogged soil and a central area that is permanently wet. An easy description to remember is “too dry to swim in, too wet for a picnic!”.
There are many different types of swamps. Each swamp has its own mix of soils, water regimes, wetting and drying patterns, landforms and vegetation influenced by the rocks underneath.