Upland wetlands of the New England Tablelands and the Monaro Plateau

Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2005

Threatened species and ecological communities information sheet

About the fact sheet

The Upland Wetlands of the New England Tablelands and the Monaro Plateau are wetlands that are not connected to rivers or streams. Instead, they occur in depressions in the landscape. The persistence of the wetlands throughout the year depends on the depth of the depression in which they occur, the depth of water in the wetland, the catchment area supplying the wetland with water, rainfall patterns, and past and current disturbances. For this reason, the Upland Wetlands can occur as near permanent (rarely dry), intermittent (often seasonally dry) or ephemeral (only occasionally full) wetlands.

The vegetation of the Upland Wetlands ranges from dense sedgeland to grassland. Around deep lagoons or lakes the vegetation occurs on the shores and in the shallower reaches, while shallow or dry-wetlands may have sedges and grasses extending all the way across.

The main characteristics of the Upland Wetlands are:

  • they occur in deep depressions in the landscape between 700 to 1400m above sea level;
  • most of the wetlands occur on basalt-derived soils, the remainder occur on soils derived from other rock types such as granite or silcrete;
  • they support a range of vegetation such as water plants, sedges, forbs and grasses; and
  • there are no shrub or tree species that occur naturally within these wetlands, though shrubs and trees in areas surrounding the wetlands can play an important role in controlling run-off and buffering impacts.

The listed ecological community does not include created farm or domestic water storage dams.

In general, ephemeral wetlands have been more heavily degraded than the intermittent or near permanent wetlands, and some are now so degraded that they are no longer part of the listed ecological community. These excluded wetlands are those ephemeral wetlands that have low native species richness (fewer than seven species in total, including both wet and dry conditions) and/or that have introduced species making up more than 50% of plant cover present on average.

A variety of plants and animals make their homes in the Upland Wetlands, including migratory birds such as Latham's Snipe, frogs such as the Brown Toadlet and Peron's Tree Frog, and reptiles like the Eastern Long-necked Turtle. The wetlands also play important ecological and hydrological roles in the environment.