Our sandy beaches and dunes, red ochre cliffs, shrublands and estuaries are all important coastal habitats. Some are home to rare plant and animal species that are only found within a few spots in South Australia. In fact our coastal reserves create a wildlife corridor and allow some species of fauna, including butterflies, to move across their range.

Like many coastal areas around Australia, our remaining coastal habitats are under pressure from development. Growing populations and our love of the coast has unfortunately disturbed fragile environments, increased pollution and opened the door to weed invasion and feral animals.

The City of Onkaparinga actively manages these threats and protects 334 hectares of coastal vegetation with the goal to improve its health and make sure our local animals and plants survive for future generations to enjoy, by:

  • Removing and controlling weeds that can push out native plants, wreck habitat for wildlife and increase the risk of fire.
  • Planting local native seedlings into damaged coastal areas to help manage erosion, create homes for wildlife and bring back native plant species that have disappeared
  • Protecting clifftops and dune systems from being destabilised as a result of people walking and driving in fragile areas.   
  • Working with passionate volunteers who help look after our natural areas and teach others about our amazing coastal plants and animals.

Keeping our coastal habitats healthy and stable also helps to protect our towns on the coast from the impacts of storms

Protecting our fragile coastline is a team effort. Specially trained council staff, contractors and volunteers work hard to ensure that our natural heritage survives for future generations.

You could make a difference and help us protect the city’s coastal habitats and wildlife by becoming a coastal volunteer with the Trees For Life, Bush For Life Program or as a ‘Hoodie Helper’ to protect the breeding areas of threatened Hooded Plover shorebirds. And don’t forget to dispose of you waste correctly to help protect our marine life. We are supporting the Hook Line Thinker, fishing debris recycling program. 




Hooded Plover adultThese small birds spend their entire lives on our sandy beaches and, due to their poor success at breeding their numbers are declining. Nationally, the Hooded Plover is threatened with extinction and in South Australia it is listed as vulnerable. There are less than 30 nesting pairs of Hooded Plovers in the Fleurieu region.

Each spring and summer when the beach is at its busiest, pairs of birds lay their eggs directly on the beach in a shallow nest scrape. When the adults incubate the eggs they are very prone to disturbance, leaving the well camouflaged nest when a person or animal approaches to keep the location hidden. For as long as the person or animal is in the area, the parents will remain off the nest. When the eggs are left unattended they can overheat, be eaten by a predator or be stepped on.

Hooded Plover chick hiding next to cuttle fishHooded Plover chicks have a low chance of survival. For one month after hatching they cannot fly. They need to feed by the water's edge but, because they are easily frightened, they spend a lot of time hiding which can lead to starvation.

The City of Onkaparinga is assisting the Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges Natural Resource Management Board to manage the human impacts to the birds during their breeding season through a Hooded Plover Recovery Plan.