Australia’s 65th Ramsar Site
The government of Australia has designated Piccaninnie Ponds Karst Wetlands (862 hectares, 38º03'S 140º56'E) on the South Australia coast as its 65th Wetland of International Importance. As described by Ramsar’s Assistant Advisor for Asia-Oceania, Ms Nessrine Alzahlawi based on the information submitted, the site is a unique combination of karst and coastal fen wetlands in good condition; it includes a series of rising spring karst systems as well as several substantial groundwater beach springs along the foreshore of the beach.The site is an exceptional example of karst spring wetlands at the bioregional scale, with the largest and deepest of the springs reaching a depth of more than 110 metres. The karst springs support unique macrophyte and algal associations, with macrophyte growth extending to 15 metres. In addition, a number of different wetland types surround the karst wetlands, receiving surface runoff from the overflow of groundwater discharge. A large area of peat fens is also present. The geomorphic and hydrological features of the site produce a complex and biologically diverse ecosystem which supports considerable biodiversity, including a significant number of species of conservation value such as the globally threatened Australasian Bittern Botaurus poiciloptilus and Orange-bellied Parrot Neophema chrysogaster. Human activities consist of recreation, tourism, snorkeling, camping and research. The surrounding areas are used for livestock grazing.