Gawler’s rivers have long been a significant resource the for the region’s inhabitants. The junction of the North Para and South Para to form the Gawler River provided food and shelter for the Indigenous Kaurna people, and the aesthetic and strategic value of the rivers was recognised by Colonel William Light in his original 1839 plan for Gawler. This initial plan resulted in the establishment of Gawler around the rivers, featured generous tracts of parkland adjoining the river corridors. Since the European settlement of Gawler, Gawler’s rivers have been significantly modified by human activity, with substantial impacts on flow regimes and flooding, vegetation and biodiversity, and water quality and river health. Isolated but significant areas of indigenous riparian and floodplain vegetation remain, and the Town of Gawler and the Gawler community have been instrumental in protecting and building on these remnants in order to maintain the health of the river corridors and the waterways themselves. The green spine that runs through Gawler gives the town its unique character, and provides a significant ecological, social, recreational and cultural asset. The Gawler Urban Rivers Project was initiated in 2009 with a goal to improve Gawler’s urban waterways, with a focus on the protection of river health, the conservation of biodiversity, and the provision of an interconnected and accessible parkland network. This project was managed by the Town of Gawler with funding contributed by the Department of Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government under the Better Regions Program. The Gawler Urban Rivers Project has delivered to the Gawler community: ~Ac^A-^Aa 8km of shared bicycle and walking paths (to be known as Tapa Pariara, or the Gawler Rivers Path – see Figure ES.1); ~Ac^A-^Aa five new bridges and river crossings; ~Ac^A-^Aa weed removal and revegetation works; ~Ac^A-^Aa stream stabilisation works; and ~Ac^A-^Aa this Master Plan. The Gawler Urban Rivers Master Plan has been formulated to provide the Gawler community with a guiding tool for the future management of Gawler’s river corridors. The Master Plan provides a review of river health, biodiversity, heritage and recreation studies, an analysis of key management issues, identifies opportunities and recommends actions to maintain, improve and complement the unique attributes of Gawler’s urban rivers.
SMEC : 2013