Urban Creek Recovery

Urban Creek Recovery

The Urban Creek Recovery Project is an exciting 5 year watercourse restoration initiative of the City of Onkaparinga supported with funding from the Australian Government and the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board. 

The aim of Urban Creek Recovery is to improve riparian vegetation condition so that the natural ecosystem can function better and habitats for native plants and animals are re-established and expanded. Project works will be undertaken over 5 years (2013- 2018) within 35 creeks, across 9 catchments, covering more than 52km of creek line reserves that are being managed by the City of Onkaparinga.

Look out for our frog logo on signage at many sites around the region where work is taking place!

Why are our creeks so important?

Sacred Kingfisher

Many native animals including fish, frogs, lizards and birds need a healthy creek system to live in and to move from place to place. Creeks can provide natural corridors to expand the range and chances of survival of native fauna particularly for some of our isolated populations of threatened bird species that have been observed in parts of our catchments including Black-chinned Honeyeaters, Sacred Kingfishers, Red-capped Robins and Brown Tree Creepers.

A healthy creek also helps to filter and clean water before it flows into the gulf or a reservoir and it can be an amazing place to visit and explore. To give you an idea of what lives in a healthy creek, we have developed ‘Creek Heroes’. 

What are we doing to help our creeks?

An important first step in watercourse restoration is to remove the most invasive plants or ‘Creek Bullies’ because they often have the biggest negative impacts on these natural ecosystems including displacing and shading out our local native vegetation, decreasing habitat for fauna, contributing to the decline of water quality, altering the natural flows of creek, increasing flood risk and increasing bushfire fuel loads.

In order to tackle the weed problem without causing unnecessary damage to the creek system you need to have an understanding of the original native vegetation which was once in the area, knowledge about which plants are causing damage and how to carefully remove these invaders. Once you have worked that out, it is all about choosing the right timing, order of actions and working with nature to create opportunities for natural ecosystems to restore themselves. Replanting with local native seedlings is also carefully planned to replace habitat elements or species that have been lost or to stabilise some areas.

Some of the actions we will carry out over the 5 year Urban Creek Recovery Project include:

  • Planting more than 50,000 native seedlings to improve habitat for wildlife.
  • Undertaking environmental weed control along more than 52km of watercourses, totalling 433 hectares including improving the condition of 150 hectares of the nationally endangered Grey Box (Eucalyptus microcarpa) grassy Woodland vegetation community.
  • Establishing 30 bushland condition monitoring sites to track the success of on-ground works. 
  • Connecting the community to their local creeks by holding field days, producing educational material, working with 42 school and community groups, hosting at least 15 planting events and encouraging nature play.
  • Working together with TAFE and indigenous communities to provide on-ground environmental training opportunities.

The Urban Creek Recovery Project activities and outputs are reported to our funding partners every six months. To view the latest update of our achievements against all agreed project outputs check out this summary of achievements (256K)

For further information on this project please check out of frequently asked questions page or contact the City of Onkaparinga Nature Conservation Team on 8384 0666.


Urban Creek Recovery Project halfway mark achievements. 96HA of wood weeds removed to reduce fire risk. 30 bushland monitoring sites established. 3766 urban creek recovery event participants. Native vegetation restoration on 502HA. 93 different species grown. 14 community planting events held. 61km of watercourse being restored. 61,000 local native seedlings planted.
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