nature reserve

Protecting a critically endangered ecological community


Area 92 ha (0.98 sq km)
Location 2.5 km from Finniss on the Fleurieu Peninsula
Consisting Threat abatement, revegetation and protection of Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) listed flora and fauna
Acquired 2014
Management Nature Foundation

Watchalunga Nature Reserve is a part of a former farming property owned by Mrs Elaine Poyntz and her late husband Ross. The property was identified as having high conservation value when it first came onto the market in 2011. In late 2012, an agreement was reached between Mrs Poyntz and Nature Foundation SA to subdivide and transfer the important swampland part of the property to Nature Foundation.

Nature Foundation purchased the property with funds from the Land Acquisition Fund and with the support of The Hon Ian Hunter MLC, Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation. Watchalunga Nature Reserve was officially launched in March 2015 by Minister Hunter.

Watchalunga comprises approximately 92 ha of low-lying Fleurieu Peninsula swamp area on the Finniss River. It is a very important patch of remnant habitat containing highly significant South Australian biodiversity.

The swamps of the Fleurieu Peninsula are listed as a critically endangered ecological community under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999. Watchalunga contains habitat for the critically endangered Mount Lofty Ranges Southern Emu-wren. The waters of the nature reserve provide important aquatic habitat to support freshwater fishes. A baseline fish survey of Watchalunga Nature Reserve, conducted in Spring 2018, and a repeat survey in Spring 2019 revealed a relatively diverse fish community with reasonably low numbers of non-native species. The reserve may still be a refuge for the nationally-listed Yarra Pygmy Perch (vulnerable) and the Murray Hardyhead (vulnerable). Previous flora surveys have identified 31 indigenous species; more species are likely to be found with more thorough inspections.

Nature Foundation will be working to reduce harm from identified threats and restore critical habitat to create a sanctuary for at-risk wildlife and the property will be made available for all groups interested in monitoring and studying the extremely important biodiversity of the property.

View Watchalunga Fact Sheet

Find out more about our appeal for the Mount Lofty Ranges Southern Emu-wren or make a donation here.