Managing an artificial island for seabirds and shorebirds

Tony Flaherty1, Damian Moroney2, Warrick Barnes3 

1Manager Coast and Marine Services, Natural resources Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges (NR AMLR), 2Natural resources Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges (NR AMLR), 3Adelaide Plains Council.


Offshore of Port Adelaide, a small but significant sand island has been forming since the 1960’s construction of a breakwater and deposition of dredge spoil. Now, the 1.6 kilometre island, stabilised by saltmarsh and other vegetation is a significant bird colony for seabirds and waterfowl. Bird Island hosts the state’s largest permanent Australian Pelican colony as well as significant nest sites for endangered Fairy Tern and roosting and feeding for migratory shorebirds. Natural Resources AMLR have negotiated a memorandum of understanding between the port and transport agencies for collaborative conservation management. A biodiversity action plan has been developed and is being implemented. This presentation will outline the values of this artificial habitat, management challenges and conservation values and objectives. Rat and fox control are just two of the challenges. After previous trials of contracted rat control, an intensive volunteer rat baiting project has been trialled. The presentation will also touch on conservation of other islands in the region, and  efforts to restore seabird colonies.


Damian currently works for Natural Resources, Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges as the Seascapes Coordinator. Previously he was the South Australian Coordinator of the Coasts and Cleans Seas program, a member of the national Intergovernmental Coastal Reference Group, a member of Marine and Coastal Community Network National Reference Group and a member of the SA Marine Protected Area and Marine Planning Steering Committee.