Environmental watering 2012-13
Environmental water is being provided to the Gwydir Wetlands to support the ongoing restoration of native wetland plant communities and maintain habitat for native animals.
Straw-necked ibis chicks
Photo: Andrew Huxham © CEWO
The wetlands contain native plant communities such as marsh club rush, water couch, river cooba and lignum. On the floodplain, coolibah woodlands fringe the wetlands and form extensive woodlands in a number of areas. These plants have many of their natural processes, such as flowering, seeding and germination, determined by the amount of water that is available to them. These plant communities provide habitat to tens of thousands of waterbirds, including the intermediate egret, little egret, nankeen night heron, glossy ibis, straw-necked ibis and cormorants, that breed throughout the wetlands. The wetlands also provide habitat for many types of frogs, fish and insects that, in turn, are food for the nesting waterbirds. The watering action may help suppress the growth of lippia, a weed which can out-compete native plants including tree seedlings. The watering action is occurring over summer which is in keeping with the natural seasonality of river flows and the water needs of environmental assets in the Gwydir catchment. The Commonwealth has made available up to 20,000 megalitres towards the New South Wales government action. The total volume of Commonwealth environmental water used will depend on seasonal conditions and rainfall. This environmental watering action has been made possible by the collaboration of a wide range of stakeholders including the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, State Water Corporation, local environmental water advisory committee and landholders.
Native woodlands in the Gwydir wetlands
Photo: Clare d'Arcy © CEWO
What makes this place so special and why is Commonwealth environmental water used here?
The Gwydir catchment is an environmentally significant area because it includes:
- wetlands of national significance and habitat for many different types of native plants and animals
- approximately 111,154 ha of native wetland plant communities, particularly coolibah woodlands, and one of the largest expanses of water couch in NSW
- important cultural sites for the local Gomeroi Indigenous people.
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