FLORA OF THE COORONG
The Coorong is an area of world-wide biological significance. It contains a representative sample of coastal and salt-influenced terrestrial habitats as well as an unusual set of aquatic habitats in the Coorong Lagoon and ephemeral lakes. Coorong National Park is characterised by a complex interaction of water from a number of sources including sea water, the River Murray, rainfall and groundwater.
The lagoon waters are part of an ecosystem which supports an important feeding area for waterbirds and migratory waders. Freshwater soaks are one of the few sources of freshwater for fauna. However in September 2000 freshwater once again flowed into the Coorong Lagoon at Salt Creek via a series of drains and wetlands through the Upper South East. The Coorong National Park is an interesting area for study of geology and geological processes.
Next to the Southern Ocean there is a range of sand dunes known as the Younghusband Peninsula, and on the eastern side there is a composite range of Pleistocene dunes. The depression between these parallel dunes is principally occupied by a salt water lagoon about 100 km long.
In the south the presence of water in the interdunal depression becomes seasonal and the lagoon is replaced by a series of ephemeral lakes and swampy mud flats.
278 terrestrial flowering plant and fern species are recorded in the park, of which 80 are introduced.
The dynamic nature of the estuary allows for a succession of plant communities to come and go. In turn these communities provide differing habitats for birds and other animals, as well as contributing to the primary production of the ecosystem. Distribution of plant communities has been observed to correlate with the salinity gradients of the wetlands.