Going with the Onkaparinga Flow – Pushing boundaries and connecting communities

Ms Kerri Bartley1

1City Of Onkaparinga, Seaford Meadows, Australia


The City of Onkaparinga Natural Areas Conservation Team is making strong connections with community groups and inviting people to join them on a journey of discovery to improve knowledge and foster passion for aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Two exciting new projects involve the community to research, remediate and help guide future management of coastal, marine and estuarine environments.

A community environment grant from the Australian Government will help build on the success of the Urban Creek Recovery Project through ecological restoration of the lower Onkaparinga River. The project is controlling woody weeds and involving the community through planting events, family nature by night walks and workshops to assess river health through macroinvertebrate surveys. Council will also link with the iNaturalist citizen science application through its ‘NATUREhoodz’ project to help record plants and animals.

The Onkaparinga River flows into Port Noarlunga Marine Park Sanctuary Zone which is part of an exciting new collaborative project that has pushed the boundary seaward to include the adjacent aquatic environment. The community led Marine Hitchhikers of Eastern Gulf St Vincent research project, supported by Council, seeks to discover introduced species that have been previously undetected here. The data collected will help inform and guide future management of these areas and create awareness and interest of marine flora and fauna mapping.

Both projects support the community to share observations and help provide quality data for scientists and land managers working to better understand and protect nature.


Kerri has 16 years experience working in the Natural Resources Management sector. Community Revegetation Projects restoring the drought stricken Lower Lakes with local communities and more recently remediating high biodiversity sites along the Metropolitan Coast. Kerri has experience working for NGOs, State and now Local Government and is passionate about working with community to protect and restore our natural coastal environments.