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We are always undertaking exciting projects to improve the health of our local environment. By working to safeguard biodiversity, we can sustain healthy natural areas in which people, plants and animals can live, work and play. 

Water is an essential part of any living system and underpins many of our biodiversity projects, from natural storm water drains in the south Park Lands to aquatic vegetation planting in the River Torrens / Karrawirra Parri.

Separate to our projects, our Biodiversity Team manages Key Biodiversity Areas that represent the ecosystems that naturally occur in the council region. Click here to find out more about these ecosystems.

Browse the Projects below to find out more about what we have been working on.

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Media on our Biodiversity Projects

Native Bee BnB

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Grasslands Field Trip

Kiddo Magazine article on our Grasslands Trail, which can be walked accompanied by an activity booklet and interpretive signage in Pakapakanthi / Victoria Park during October. Read the entertaining and informative article here.

Native Bee BnB

Watch our video to find out how we made out first bee hotel in the Tulya Wardli Magic Forest Garden.

Native Bee BnB hotel in Tulya Wardli with log in front

Did you know that over 300 species of native bee live in Adelaide and the Mt Lofty Ranges, with more than 1600 in Australia? Most of these bees live alone and don’t have stingers.

Native bees are quite different to the European honeybee (Apis mellifera) that we all recognise; some native bees are as small as 2 mm in length and others as large as 2.5 cm. The native Blue-banded Bee is even better at pollinating tomato plants than European honeybees because of their ingenious ‘buzz pollination’ technique.

There is still much to discover about how native bees pollinate fruit and nut crops, which is just one reason why they are an incredibly important part of our ecosystem. Another reason is that native bees are also responsible for pollinating many of our indigenous plants.

Urban areas do not provide much food for all these bees to survive and our native species often come out second-best to the European honeybee in the struggle to find food and shelter.

Photo: Native Blue-banded Bee (Amegilla sp.) extending its proboscis (mouth parts) to probe a flower for nectar. Photo: Jeremy Gramp.

READ ALSO: Learn how one North Adelaide resident is helping to bring bees back to the city

Native Bee BnB hotel in Tulya Wardli with log in front

This is where our Native Bee BnBs come in!

The Native Bee BnB project is about supporting our native bees by creating a corridor of flowering plants all the way from the Adelaide Hills to the ocean. This exciting project also involves the community; you can get involved by creating your own bee-friendly garden or by visiting one of our native bee hotels.

What are Bee Hotels?

Bee hotels are made from a variety of materials to accommodate many species of native bees. Wooden blocks, bamboo and mud bricks are all common materials found in a bee hotel.

As part of the Native Bee BnB project, we are installing three bee hotels in the Park Lands. Find out where they are below.


Photo: Our first native bee hotel can be found in Tulya Wardli / Bonython Park next to the playground.

More About the Project

Part of The River Torrens Recovery Project, the Native Bee BnB project links each council in the River Torrens catchment to create a corridor of bee habitat from the Adelaide Hills to the sea. These councils are working together to deliver a consistent approach to native bee protection: Charles Sturt, Port Adelaide Enfield, Tea Tree Gully, Campbelltown, West Torrens and Norwood Payneham St Peters.

Native Bee Project - Full length from City of Adelaide on Vimeo.

Hear more through a presentation presented by Bec Tayor & Liam Crook 

Get Amongst It!

How can you get involved with our beautiful native bees? Start by visiting our native bee hotels in the following locations:

  • Magic Forest Garden in Tulya Wardli / Bonython Park Playspace
  • Wirrarninthi / GS Kingston Park, and
  • Tainmuntilla biodiversity site / Mistletoe Park

Once you have seen our bee hotels, learn how to construct your own small-scale bee hotel and bring native bees back into your own garden. Click here to find out more.

Woody Weed Removal

Woody weed marked for removal in Tainmuntilla.We are removing ‘woody’ weeds from a stretch of river in Tainmuntilla (Kaurna word for ‘mistletoe place’) to restore the natural ecosystem. This will preserve the genetic information of the local plants and increase convenience for the public by improving access to the area.

What is a ‘woody weed’?

Woody weeds are perennial shrubs or trees (they live for more than one year) that are not native to the local area.

Some weeds spread through ‘suckers’: sprouting growth from roots that act like new trees. Treating these species is important to stop them from spreading quickly into other areas.

Photo: A ‘woody weed’ marked for removal in Tainmuntilla / Mistletoe Park.

About Tainmuntilla

Tainmuntilla is a stretch of River Torrens / Karrawirra Pari that was part of a riparian (riverside) restoration project for the SA Urban Forests ‘Million Trees Program’. More than 25,000 native plants were planted along the river bank as part of the project, which spanned over five years.

Get Amongst It!

You can access Tainmuntilla via the walking and cycling path on the river between Albert Bridge (Frome Rd) and Hackney Rd. 

South Park Lands Creek Revival

South Park Lands creek before revival, overgrown with grasses, narrow channelWe are transforming the storm water creek in the south Park Lands to improve biodiversity, reduce water speed and provide a space where visitors can connect with nature.

After over 100 years in operation, this constructed creek needs an upgrade. We are taking the opportunity to turn it into a corridor for native biodiversity and visitors. Work has already begun and includes the planting of up to 135,000 plants, including trees, aquatic vegetation and local native shrubs in three parks, Tuthangga (Kaurna for ‘grass place’), Wita Wirra (Kaurna for ‘peppermint place’) and Pelzer Park / Pityarilla (Kaurna for ‘marshmallow root place’).

South Park Lands creek revival after, with shallow banks and planted native vegetation

Photos: Before (above) and after (below) the upgrade of the stormwater creek in the south Park Lands. Significant plantings of native vegetation are a feature of this upgrade.

Get Amongst It!

You can see an example of our progress next to Marshmallow Park playground in Pityarilla / Pelzer Park.

Wirrarninthi Bush Restoration

Bare ground and few trees in Wirrarninthi before restorationWirrarninthi Bush Restoration continues to be a fulfilling volunteer-led project that engages the community in improving the natural environment of the west Park Lands. Volunteers meet each month to get involved in rewarding activities such as animal surveys, seed collection, plant propagation, planting and weed control.

Previous efforts have included revegetation to return the park to its original Mallee Box Woodland ecosystem and the revitalization of a small wetland in the western section of the park, which has brought water birds and frogs back to the area.

Walk the Wirrarninthi Trail on your next visit to the area.

Photos: Wirrarninthi bush restoration site before (above) and after (below) volunteers have completed their work. Volunteers continue to meet on the first Saturday of every month to maintain and monitor the site.

Get Amongst It!

Wirrarninthi Trail

Restored native Malle Box woodland in Wirrarninthi

The Wirrarninthi Interpretive Trail is a nature/art trail that highlights the interesting biodiversity stories of this section of the park, and provides a fun place for children to explore and reconnect with nature.

You can access the trail via our Community Education Hub in the west Park Lands. Parking is available at the end of Catholic Cemetery Rd, just off Sir Donald Bradman Drive.

Are you interested in contributing to the restoration of Wirrarninthi? Click here to find out how easy and fun it is to volunteer.

Victoria Park Biodiversity Trail

Man with sore back walking Vic Park Trail and expressing delightThe best way to see and interact with rare plants and butterflies in Adelaide is by walking the Victoria Park Biodiversity Trail.

The biodiversity trail showcases our Key Biodiversity Area in Victoria Park / Pakapakanthi (Kaurna word for ‘to trot’), which contains a rare and important example of remnant grassland vegetation in Adelaide.

The trail also provides the community with a means of getting close to our remnant grassland in an appropriate way, while learning about and enjoying native plants and animals. Interpretive signs along the trail provide information on key species that can be found in the park.

Photo: Victoria Park Trail can in the fenced biodiversity area of Pakapakanthi / Victoria Park.

Get Amongst It!

You can access the Biodiversity Trail by visiting the fenced area in the southern side of Victoria Park / Pakapakanthi. Keep a look out for the rare Chequered Copper Butterfly when you’re here!

Torrens Aquatic Vegetation Restoration

Aquatic native plants closeupDid you know that the River Torrens / Karrawirra Pari was replanted with native aquatic vegetation? These macrophytes (water plants) improve water quality and increase biodiversity in the river by taking nutrients out of the system, thereby reducing the likelihood of algal blooms in the future.

Karrawirra Pari was once a small river with numerous waterholes, lined with River Red Gums. One-third of the river bed was carpeted with aquatic vegetation. In summer the river could dry completely and it was an important encampment and source of food for the Kaurna people.

Nowadays the river bed is kept submerged during the summer months. Since the system was dredged in the 1990s, the river is susceptible to blue-green algae blooms over summer due to the warm, nutrient-rich water.

Many techniques have been used to maintain river health in previous years. These include:

  • flushing the system with cool, fresh water
  • using pumps to mix and aerate the water
  • hydrogen peroxide trials to reduce blue-green algae levels
  • invasive fish management
  • ongoing water quality monitoring

Reintroducing macrophytes into the system is a long-term solution that will restore the river to more natural, healthy conditions.

Click here to find out more about water quality improvements as part of the River Torrens Recovery Project.

Photo: Aquatic native vegetation trials in our biodiversity plant nursery. Small River Buttercup (Ranunculus amphitrichus – centre, broadest green leaf) and Upright Water-milfoil (Myriophyllum crispatum, top-left).

Get Amongst It!

Walk the banks of Karrawirra Pari and spot some of our native plants and wildlife! A great place to access the walking and cycling path on the river is via Albert Bridge (Frome Rd).

Tulya Wardli Riparian Restoration

Grassy, bare riverbank before restorationTulya Wardli (Kaurna name for ‘police barracks’) is a hidden natural oasis close to the heart of the city. A concerted revegetation effort has transformed this area of Karrawirra Pari / River Torrens into a natural riverbank ecosystem from its degraded (unhealthy) state.

You can now visit and walk through this delightful space, which provides an insight into how the area may have been when the Kaurna people were the main stewards of the land.

Early stages of the restoration removed large woody weeds such as willow and ash trees, as well as smaller invasive weeds. This was followed by the planting of 100,000 native plants as part of the SA Urban Forest One Million Trees Program. The native vegetation has continued to grow and is improving in providing food and habitat for native animals.

Vegetated, healthy riverbank after restoration

Photo: Before (above) and after (below) the Tulya Wardli / Bonython Park riparian restoration efforts.

Get Amongst It!

You can visit Tulya Wardli at the northern end of Bonython Park, towards Hindmarsh Bridge (Port Rd). Here you can walk the Bunyip Trail, where you can find out how we have improved local biodiversity and experience the area as it might have been before urbanisation. Click here to find out more. 

Ten Eyewitness News Adelaide - 22 March 2018

Adelaide is about to be buzzing to the sound of bee hotels being built around the city. The initiative is part of a global movement to boost the vital insect's population. Watch the full news report here.

City of Adelaide Newsroom - 21 March 2018

The City of Adelaide is excited to become part of a global movement to protect and potentially boost the population of native bees when it installs three Native Bee B‘n’Bs.

The native bee hotel structures will be installed at three key locations across the CBD, including in the Magic Forest Garden at the Bonython Park / Tulya Playground (Park 27), in the biodiversity site Mistletoe Park / Tainmuntilla (Park 11), and in the Wirrarninthi biodiversity site/ GS Kingston Park (Park 23).

This initiative comes at a crucial time for bees globally and reflects an increased understanding of threats to bee populations and of the role that native bees play in pollinating native and other plants.

The City of Adelaide is among eight local councils that are partnering with the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board to deliver this project as part of the River Torrens Recovery Project, which aims to restore the ecological health and function of the river.

Lord Mayor of Adelaide Martin Haese said there are more than 1600 species of native bees in Australia and at least 200 of those can be found in Adelaide and the Mount Lofty Ranges.

“These important creatures are facing tough challenges with destruction of their natural habitats right across the country, which means they could face extinction,” said the Lord Mayor.

“As a way of preventing this, we want to build bee hotels and revegetate native flowering plants in the hope that it will provide bees with nesting sites, increase their population and increase their pollination activities, while also educating the community about the importance of bees and the services they provide.”

The City of Adelaide will host an information session from 6.00pm – 7.00pm on Wednesday 4 April 2018 at the Joinery, 111 Franklin Street, Adelaide. Australia's foremost native bee expert Dr Katja Hogendoorn and South Australia's very own gardening guru Sophie Thomson from Gardening Australia will be presenting on native bees and their habitat and ideas for making your own Native Bee B‘n’B!

The community will also have the chance to help to build the native bee hotels at a community working bee on Saturday 19 May 2018.

Read the original article here.

City Mag - 21 June 2018

As bee populations worldwide continue to decline, the City of Adelaide is working to keep native bee populations alive and thriving. Read the full article here.

Radio Adelaide Gastronaut interview - 12 May 2018

Sustainability Policy Team Leader Maria Zotti talks to Radio Adelaide about our native bees project. Listen here. (Look for episode from 12 May).

Kiddo Magazine - June 2018

If you ask a child what bees do, they'll probably be quick to tell you that they make honey. Which of course is correct - for European honey bees. But the City of Adelaide are keen to raise awareness about the important role that our less-famous native bees play. Read the full article on Page 33, here.

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