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DUCK LAGOON

3542' S, 13731' E

Here you may observe the birdlife on the Lagoon from the shelter of the bird hide. You can investigate old relics from the past, or just wander on the scenic walking trail which takes you along the banks of the Lagoon and the Cygnet River.Yellow Billed Spoonbill

Duck Lagoon is a fragile place and there are a few simple rules that need to be followed.

Please do not disturb the birdlife
Swimming in the lagoon is not permitted
Dogs are not permitted
Camping is not permitted
Firearms are not permitted

Throughout Southern Australia the clearance of native vegetation, to make way for agriculture, has led to a rise in underground water tables. On Kangaroo Island, where an average of 300 kg of salt falls with the rain on every hectare (1 hectare=2.47 acres) of land each year, this process has brought the salt to the surface. The subsequent run-off from affected areas is now damaging remnant trees in the Cygnet River Lagoon system.

Prior to the 1960's the Lagoon had a very different appearance to what is seen now. It was covered in Bullrushes and Water Weeds, and was home to an abundance of Ducks, Moor Hens, Coot, Egrets and Herons. Many of these birds used to nest in large colonies near the Lagoon.Youth Conservation Corps Project

There were also large flocks of smaller birds, such as Finches and Wrens. Kingfishers were common and nested in the areas around the Lagoon.

By the early 1960's the Lagoon had become affected by increasing salinity. This had been caused by land clearance around the Lagoon and further upstream in the catchment areas. The number of fish dropped drastically, and the Water Weeds and Bullrushes died out.

Waterfowl which prefers fresh water conditions became less abundant at the Lagoon. Species that tolerate saline conditions such as the Musk Duck, Chestnut Teal, Hoary-Headed Grebe, Spoonbills and Swans were less affected.

In March 1993 fifteen local trainees were enrolled in a 6 months 'Youth Conservation Corps' project. Re-vegetation plots were constructed to re-establish some of the original vegetation, to encourage the return of birdlife.Hoary-Headed Grebe

A bird hide and observation platform were also build as part of this project, and visitors to the Lagoon can now take advantage of these facilities, to view the water birds.

One can see a number of dead Gumtrees in the Lagoon. This process has occurred over a long period of time, and is linked with the gradual increase of salinity in the Lagoon, as well as the rising saline groundwater in the area.

In drier months of the year the water in the Lagoon becomes stagnant and more saline as there is no water flow. During the winter months when the water level rises, the Lagoon becomes slightly fresher. In years of high rainfall, when flooding occurs, the Lagoon is flushed out and the trees have a healthier appearance as a result.

Text credited to:
Kelly Parker and Sheree Whittle
(SA Youth Conservation Corps)

Illustrations credited to:
Kelly Parker
(SA Youth Conservation Corps)

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