Waterbirds and wetlands across eastern Australia

Technical report
RT Kingsford and JL Porter
prepared for the 2006 Australian State of the Environment Committee, 2006

This document was commissioned for the 2006 Australian State of the Environment Committee. This and other commissioned documents support the Committee's Report but are not part of it.

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The project aims to estimate the abundance of waterbirds within 10 aerial survey bands across eastern Australia, for the time period 1983-2004. The aerial survey provides information on up to 50 waterbird species, including several threatened species.

Many of Australias major river systems flow into large estuaries or floodplains. These floodplain areas provide habitat for many species of waterbirds and other dependent aquatic organisms. For this reason, aerial surveys of waterbirds across eastern Australia provide a longterm data set on the health and biodiversity of river and wetland environments. Such data have shown some waterbird populations are in decline (e.g Macquarie Marshes and Lowbidgee wetlands). Such analysis can be combined with detailed longterm data on river flows and climate to determine long term impacts of river regulation (dams, diversions, floodplain levees) on some wetland sites (see case studies in this paper). Aerial survey data of waterbirds are also used for the management of duck shooting seasons in Queensland, South Australia and Victoria.


Kingsford RT and Porter JL 2006, Waterbirds and wetlands across Eastern Australia technical report prepared for the Department of the Environment and Heritage, Canberra,