Problems confronting the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth (CLLMM)
The Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth (CLLMM) region is confronted with environmental and socio-economic problems brought upon by man-made interventions in the river and estuarine ecosystem.
The first problem is that for seventy years the barrages have artificially separated the Lower Lakes from the River Murray Estuary or Coorong. This has divided the original estuary leaving behind an estuary only 11% of it's original size. This has resulted in significant biodiversity loss, including the once plentiful Mulloway.
The barrages, by raising water levels in Lake Alexandrina and Lake Albert by 0.75m, have also contributed to widespread soil salinisation around the Lower Lakes.
The threat of acid sulphate soils appears when the lake bed dries out and is exposed to oxygen. This happens since the barrages keep the sea water out during low river flow conditions.
There are 1620 primary producers in the River Murray and Lower Lakes Corridor region depending upon the elevated freshwater Lake levels and water delivery provided by the River Murray.
There is a multi-species fishery operating in the Lower Lakes and Coorong region sensitive to changes in water conditions. Commercial species fished include: Bony Bream, Callop, Carp, Goolwa Cockles and Yellow-eyed Mullet.
And there are other businesses in the Lower Murray that are reliant upon keeping the water situation the way it has been for the last 72 years.