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Protected areas of South Australia facts for kids

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Cape Spencer lighthouse
Cape Spencer Lighthouse, Innes National Park

Protected areas of South Australia consists of protected areas located within South Australia and its immediate onshore waters and which are managed by South Australian Government agencies. As of March 2018, South Australia contains 359 separate protected areas declared under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972, the Crown Land Management Act 2009 and the Wilderness Protection Act 1992 which have a total land area of 211,387.48 km2 (81,617.16 sq mi) or 21.5% of the state's area.

National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972

The National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 (also known as the ‘National Parks Act’) is the principal legislation in South Australia in respect to the establishment and management of protected areas. The act uses the term ‘reserve’ in lieu of the term ‘protected area’ while the agency which administers the act generally uses the term 'park'. It is concerned with the establishment and management of reserves, establishment of sanctuaries, conservation of native plants and animals, declaration of protected animals, the management of protected animals in respect to taking, keeping, farming and harvesting, and the control of hunting.

The act is administered by the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR). As of February 2014, reserves declared under this act totalled 320 with a total area of 19,226,432 ha (47,509,550 acres) or 19.6% of South Australia’s area.

The following types of reserves are listed within the Act: national parks, conservation parks, game reserves, recreation parks and regional reserves.

National Parks

National parks are 'areas considered to be of national significance due to wildlife, natural features of the land, or Aboriginal or European heritage'. As of July 2016, the following national parks have been declared:

Conservation Parks

Conservation parks are 'areas protected for the purpose of conserving wildlife or the natural or historic features of the land'. As of July 2016, the following conservation parks have been declared:

Game Reserves

Game reserves are 'areas set aside for conservation of wildlife and the management of game for seasonal hunting.' As of July 2016, the following game reserves have been declared:

Recreation Parks

Recreation parks are 'areas managed for public recreation and enjoyment in a natural setting.' As of July 2016, the following recreation parks have been declared:

Regional Reserves

Regional reserves are 'areas proclaimed for the purpose of conserving wildlife or natural or historical features while allowing responsible use of the area's natural resources.' As of July 2016, the following regional reserves have been declared:

Other South Australian legislation

Conservation Reserves

Conservation reserves are a parcels of 'land set aside for conservation of natural and cultural features under the Crown Land Management Act 2009.' As of July 2016, the following conservation reserves have been declared:

As of June 2015, reserves declared under the Crown Land Management Act 2009 totalled 15 with a total area of 19,471 ha (48,110 acres) or less than 0.1% of South Australia’s area.

Native Forest Reserves

The Forestry Act 1950 allows for the declaration of forest reserves for ‘purposes relating to the conservation, development and management of land supporting native flora and fauna…’ Native forest reserves are administered by the South Australian Forestry Corporation (trading as ForestrySA) which is a wholly owned state government business. As of March 2014, the following native forest reserves which are located in the Southern Flinders Ranges, the Mount Lofty Ranges and the Limestone Coast have been declared:

  • Bagdad
  • Boolara
  • Burr Slopes South
  • Cave Range
  • Christmas Hill
  • Comaum
  • Congeratinga
  • Coralinga
  • Cudlee Creek
  • Deadmans Swamp
  • Dry Creek
  • Gillap North
  • Gillap South
  • Glencoe Hill
  • Grundy Lane
  • Hacket Hill
  • Hells Hole
  • Honan
  • Honeysuckle
  • Island Swamp
  • Kalumunda
  • Kangaroo Flat
  • Kay
  • Kennion
  • Kersbrook
  • King Tree
  • Knott Hill
  • Konetta
  • Laslett
  • Little Mt. Crawford
  • Long
  • Malone Heath
  • McRosties
  • Mount Benson
  • Mount Gawler
  • Mount McIntyre
  • Mount Panorama
  • Mount Watch
  • Muddy Flat
  • Nangwarry
  • Native Wells
  • Overland Track
  • Pond Flat
  • Rock Shelter
  • Rocky Reserve
  • Round Waterhole
  • Snow Gum
  • Springs Road
  • The Bluff
  • The Heath
  • The Marshes
  • The Woolwash
  • Topperwein
  • Tower Hill
  • Wandilo
  • Warreanga
  • Watts Gully
  • Whennen
  • White Waterhole
  • Windy Hill
  • Wombat Flat

Wilderness Protection Areas

The Wilderness Protection Act 1992 was established in 1992 to provide for ‘the protection of wilderness and the restoration of land to its condition before European colonisation’. The day-to-day administration of the act is carried out by DEWNR. As of July 2016, the following areas have been declared:

As of June 2015, reserves declared under the Wilderness Protection Act 1992 totalled 14 with a total area of 1,843,454 ha (4,555,270 acres) or 1.9% of South Australia’s area.

Protected zones for Historic Shipwreck sites

The Historic Shipwrecks Act 1981 which is administered by DEWNR allows for the creation of protected zones over land and water around historic shipwrecks. The following protected zones have been declared:

  • Zanoni

River Murray protection area

The River Murray Act 2003 which is administered by DEWNR has provision for ‘the protection and enhancement of the River Murray and related areas and ecosystems’.

As of September 2010, the following protection areas have been designated:

Aquatic reserves

The following areas have been declared under the Fisheries Management Act 2007 (SA). Aquatic reserves which are managed by the Department of Primary Industries & Regions (PIRSA), were 'established to protect the habitat, ecosystems and communities of the rich variety of underwater organisms found in the marine and estuarine waters of South Australia'. Aquatic reserves are considered to be IUCN Category II protected areas.

Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary

Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary (ADS) is a sanctuary area intended to protect the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops aduncus) population residing in the Port Adelaide River estuary and Barker Inlet as well as protecting and enhancing the Port Adelaide River estuary and Barker Inlet. The sanctuary was declared under the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary Act 2005 and is managed by DEWNR.

Marine parks

Marine parks are areas within the immediate onshore waters of SA set aside under the Marine Parks Act 2007 (SA) 'to preserve the biological diversity of the state's coastal, estuarine and marine environments while allowing ecologically sustainable use of the area's natural resources.' As of December 2013, the following marine parks have been declared:

  • Far West Coast Marine Park
  • Nuyts Archipelago Marine Park
  • West Coast Bays Marine Park
  • Investigator Marine Park
  • Thorny Passage Marine Park
  • Sir Joseph Banks Group Marine Park
  • Neptune Islands Group Marine Park
  • Gambier Islands Group Marine Park
  • Franklin Harbor Marine Park
  • Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park
  • Eastern Spencer Gulf Marine Park
  • Southern Spencer Gulf Marine Park
  • Lower Yorke Peninsula Marine Park
  • Upper Gulf St Vincent Marine Park
  • Encounter Marine Park
  • Western Kangaroo Island Marine Park
  • Southern Kangaroo Island Marine Park
  • Upper South East Marine Park
  • Lower South East Marine Park

Arkaroola Protection Area

The Arkaroola Protection Act 2012 which commenced operation on 26 April 2012 was created to ‘establish the Arkaroola Protection Area; to provide for the proper management and care of the area; and to prohibit mining activities in the area’. The protection area which is located 600 km (370 mi) north of Adelaide includes the Arkaroola Pastoral Lease and the Mawson Plateau part of the Mount Freeling Pastoral Lease. The former lease which has not been stocked for over 30 years is operated for the purpose of conservation and tourism under the name, Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary. The protection area is reported as satisfying the definition of a "category II National Park".

Native vegetation heritage agreements

A native vegetation heritage agreements, usually known as a heritage agreement, is a legally binding agreement between a landowner and the Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Conservation where the landowner agrees to protect native vegetation in perpetuity. In return, the Minister may agree to reduce statutory fees such as local government rates or offer assistance in term of funding of works such as fencing or provision of expert advice to ‘protecting and improving the conservation value of the heritage agreement area’. The enabling legislation is the Native Vegetation Act 1991. Land covered by heritage agreements is considered to meet IUCN Category III. As of February 2014, 1537 agreements in respect to 634,242 hectares (1,567,250 acres)* of land within SA or 0.64% of the area of SA have been entered into between landowners and the minister. A notable example is the Gluepot Reserve.

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