riverPike is a major floodplain and anabranch system of the River Murray in South Australia, which bypasses Lock and Weir 5.  Spanning approximately 6700 ha, it is second only to the Riverland Ramsar site in floodplain size in South Australia.  It is located near Renmark, and encompasses floodplain between Paringa and Lyrup.  The site is a combination of Conservation Park (Pike River), Crown land and private ownership.

The Pike floodplain is a high priority ecological site requiring urgent action to enhance and where possible restore the significant environmental and cultural heritage values of the complex by delivering ecological benefits to the floodplain and its waterways.

The Pike floodplain provides a diverse range of aquatic and terrestrial habitats and a correspondingly diverse flora and fauna. Many of the habitat features found at Pike have been degraded elsewhere, and the system provides the potential to restore an important complex of inter-related habitats at a single location.

The Pike Floodplain region has been identified as a High Conservation Value Aquatic Ecosystem on a national level due to its unique ecological and hydraulic character. The region has species of national significance such as the Southern Bell Frog, Murray cod, and the Regent Parrot; it also contains an additional 18 species with State Conservation significance. The Pike floodplain has been identified in SA as one of only three floodplains prioritised for major rehabilitation effort.

There are a number of processes that are compromising the ecological integrity of the Pike Floodplain. The key threats are altered flow regimes, elevated highly saline groundwater, obstructions to fish passage, and pest plants and animals. Flow regulation in particular has reduced flooding frequencies and duration, and has resulted in increasing saline groundwater levels. This is having a significant impact on the native fauna and flora.

mapThe outlook for aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems is poor unless there is more frequent and  extensive flooding. Simply delivering enviirionmental flows to the region is not sufficient unless they are  complemented by engineering intervention. Without this  it is evident that the decline will continue.