David Cooney: Laratinga Wetlands
Bottle number: 119
About the water
Collected at: Laratinga Wetlands, Mount Barker, South Australia
Bald Hills Rd, Mount Barker
X: 306,611.433482609, Y: 6,117,106.0895861
Collected by: David Cooney, District Council of Mount Barker
Working for the District Council of Mount Barker I have been involved in the management of the wetlands reserve (not the treatment works) and have been amazed by the environmental values it has provided.
Birds SA have recognised this and consider it as key habitat. Species considered under the Ramsar agreement such as the Lathams Snipe which used to nest in the Lower Lakes have now been recorded at Laratinga.
ACT Waterwatch says:
This map illustrates the area from which the water sample was taken.
An enlarged version of the map is available below.
About the site
The Laratinga Wetlands is a unique wetland development which cleanses and recycles treated effluent water mimicking that of a natural wetland.
The Laratinga site was formerly used for growing improved pastures and the grazing of cattle until 1999/2000 when the wetland site was developed to assist in filtering Class A effluent for irrigation or in times of surplus water to the creek system.
Laratinga Wetlands is not only a productive water reclamation facility, it is also a wonderful place where you can walk, picnic, watch the local birdlife or just laze around in a peaceful natural environment.
Several trails and boardwalks wind around the wetlands through a broad range of native vegetation. Trails such as the 'Chestnut Teal', 'Rosella' and 'Sacred Ibis' (see below) are named after some of the local birdlife. There are also several bird-watching 'hides', a picnic and barbeque area, and an environmentally friendly toilet facility.
The trails in the wetlands are also linked to the Mount Barker Linear Trail, an award winning seven kilometre shared walkway from Laratinga Wetlands to Keith Stephenson Park, following the local creek line. There are also environment sign markers and cultural art pieces along the trail making it a pleasant afternoon or morning walk.
What's going on:
This site is becoming increasingly important as natural wetlands and watercourses are becoming degraded through urban development and drought. The wetlands themselves have recently been 'invaded' by carp, an introduced fish species and measures are in place to minimise this impact.
Council undertake water treatment of urban black water at the adjacent treatment plant. The treated water is released into the wetlands, a series of pools where the water is held for a period of time for settlement and UV treatment. These pools are of various size and depth, and have extensive endemic vegetation around them. The area is managed for conservation, educational and recreational use. A linear trail runs through the area and bird hides are located throughout.