Banrock Station Wine and Wetland Centre, one of the South Australian Riverland’s most popular destinations for wine enthusiasts and nature lovers alike, is set to benefit from additional environmental water over the next three years which will bolster nesting habitats for the threatened Regent Parrot.
The Banrock Station environmental watering programme (2,004 ML per year) is the result of a partnership between Banrock Station – owned by Accolade Wines – and the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder.
The programme is in addition to the existing licence from the South Australian Government and will provide water to areas that will benefit from a regular flood cycle that simulates the seasonal flows that once existed in this stretch of the Murray.
The Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder David Papps said the partnership was part of ongoing efforts to protect and restore the internationally important Wetland and its complex of wetlands and woodlands, which provide habitat for a range of native flora and fauna including the nationally threatened Regent Parrot and the Southern Bell Frog.
One of South Australia’s natural wonders, Banrock Station is home to 171 species of birds, 47 species of reptiles, 13 species of mammals, nine species of fish, eight species of amphibians and 284 species of plants, some of which are endangered.
“Banrock Station is a wetland of international importance (a Ramsar site since 2002). It is a model for other commercial operators seeking evidence of the advantages of combining private enterprise with environmental management and wetland conservation,” Mr Papps said.
“This water will help improve the condition of the River Red Gum and Black Box woodland which is home to the largest regional breeding colonies of the endangered Regent Parrot in South Australia. The many birds that converge on the wetlands of the Riverland – the Glossy Ibis, Peregrine falcons, the Eastern Great Egret, the White-bellied Sea Eagle, the Caspian Tern and the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper – will also benefit from the flooding of additional wetland areas.
Banrock Station’s Wetland Manager, Dr Christophe Tourenq, said the additional water would bring to life some areas of Banrock Station that hadn’t seen water since a major flood event in 2011.
“Much of the flora and fauna has evolved to survive a number of seasons without water, however this additional allocation is timely as it means those plants and animals that flourished in the flooding of 2011 can once again spring to life.
“It doesn’t take long for the landscape to completely transform. You can hear the Southern Bell Frogs, you see the birdlife in amongst the newly flooded lagoons, and the wetland trees and shrubs are virtually bursting from the ground”, he said.
The local knowledge and experience of Dr Tourenq and Tim Field – Banrock Station’s Wetland and Conservation Ranger – are key to helping maintain a healthy and resilient river system – one in which irrigated agriculture such as winemaking can continue to flourish while environmental assets are preserved for the benefit of all Australians.
Accolade Wines’ continued investment in Banrock Station is an internationally recognised example of private enterprise working successfully to deliver wetland conservation and rehabilitation while raising awareness of the important values and functions of wetlands in a complex river system such as the Murray.
Providing this water to Banrock Station will deliver another boost to a tourist destination that creates economic benefit for the Riverland community and social understanding of the need to maintain sustainable wetlands.
Banrock Station’s Wine and Wetland Centre has won multiple tourism awards, offering the 90,000 annual visitors the opportunity to learn more about the wetland environment while visiting the cellar door and restaurant, or taking a self-guided tour of the 8km network of walking trails.