Wetlands AustraliaNational Wetlands Update September 2012
Issue No. 21, September 2012
Wetland managers across Australia have recently faced the challenges of major droughts and floods. With Australia's naturally highly variable climate and the potential for future extreme weather events it is important that information on these events is shared.
This edition of Wetlands Australia includes several feature articles on droughts, floods and wetlands along with many other articles on current wetland projects and programs.
With the 21st edition (September 2012), Wetlands Australia continues its evolution by becoming a biannual online publication – allowing for more frequent and regular sharing of wetland news and events from around the country.
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- Droughts and Floods - Wetland Outcomes
- Rewetting - response of arid floodplain wetlands following extensive droughtManagement intervention, in the form of environmental watering during the drought, may have enabled wetlands to respond more favourably to the 2010-11 flood.
- Little Waterhouse Lake Ramsar site - of droughts and flooding rainsIn 2009, NRM North, with funding from the DSEWPaC, commissioned Lloyd Environmental to produce an Ecological Character Description for the Little Waterhouse Lake Ramsar Site, Tasmania. The project was able to observe the site towards the end of the Millennium Drought and after the drought had broken.
- French Island wildlife in drought and delugeAfter a decade of drought saw a dramatic fall in the number of migratory birds and native animals in the wetlands at the western side of French Island, Victoria, there has been heavy rainfall 3 years in a row.
- Wetland resilience - the Bottle Bend story Bottle Bend in New South Wales has become an "icon site" but is famous for all the wrong reasons.
- Cultural conservation of freshwater turtles in Barmah-Millewa Forest Concern for freshwater turtles in the mid-Murray River region has brought together the Yorta Yorta people and research staff from the Arthur Rylah Institute (ARI), Department of Sustainability and Environment Victoria.
- Droughts and Floods - Environmental Water
- Watering the Barmah-Millewa Forest icon site during drought and floods Since The Living Murray program commenced in 2002, icon sites along the Murray River have experienced the longest drought on record, as well as record-breaking rainfall. This has provided significant challenges and opportunities for delivering environmental water to the icon sites.
- Frog numbers and diversity improve during recent floods and environmental flows in the Murray Frog monitoring is providing important information on the way wetlands respond to floods and environmental flows in the Murray River system.
- Optimising environmental watering of wetlands to benefit native fish The Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) supports more than 30 000 wetlands, including sites of international importance. During the Millennium drought, managers used small parcels of environmental water to improve wetland health.
- Creating refuge habitat during drought at Narrung Wetland in the Lower River Murray, South Australia Monitoring the effects of environmental water delivery in the Narrung wetland is providing important information about the value of these flows to the long term health of the system.
- Jimaringle and Cockran Creeks recent environmental watering events The Jimaringle and Cockran Creeks, NSW, are a dynamic ephemeral system which has brought together the local community and government agencies in a common cause-to see it thrive in response to environmental flows.
- Commonwealth environmental water helps to maintain river health in the Murray River Flooding in the summer of 2011-12 exceeded the floods recorded in 2010-11 in a number of areas of the southern Murray-Darling Basin. This was particularly the case with the Murrumbidgee River which experienced massive flooding after the March 2012 rainfall with areas of the floodplains inundated for the first time in over a decade.
- Ramsar Convention
- Report on the Ramsar Convention 11th Conference of the Contracting Parties The Australian Government attended the eleventh Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP11) to the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention) in Bucharest, Romania from 6-13 July 2012. The theme of COP11 was Wetlands: Home and Destination.
- Attending Ramsar COP11 - an NGO perspective Louise Duff of WetlandCare Australia and the Australian Wetland Alliance reports on the NGO experience of COP11.
- Wetland Research and Tools
- Action Support Tool for managing sulfidic sediments in inland waterways There has been growing concern about the risk of disturbance and exposure of sulfidic sediments in Australia's inland waterways, due largely to the drought that affected much of the continent over the last decade. A new tool is available to assist waterway managers to assess and manage actual and potential sulfidic sediments.
- The hydroecology of the Lower Burdekin River floodplain wetlands How do you manage an ecosystem when you don't understand how the natural drivers or human pressures control what happens to its biophysical conditions? You can't! A conceptual understanding underlies all natural resource management and scientific investigations.
- Fish fauna survey provides new insights into the Vasse-Wonnerup Wetland System The Vasse-Wonnerup wetland is a shallow, intermittently-open system located near the town of Busselton, Western Australia. In January 2012 Murdoch University undertook a survey of the fish fauna of the Vasse-Wonnerup wetland.
- Freshwater fish databaseFunding through the Queensland Wetlands Program is allowing Fisheries Queensland (part of the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry) to consolidate their freshwater fish data in a central database for use in online information tools available on WetlandInfo.
- The role of wetlands in the carbon cycle Wetlands play an important role in landscape function, including cycling of carbon, water and nutrients, food and fibre production, water purification, regulation of flows, provision of habitats, and tourism and recreation services.
- Coastal wetlands and blue carbon "Blue Carbon" is a term used to describe the carbon sequestered by marine, coastal and estuarine ecosystems. Recently, Conservation International convened an International Blue Carbon Scientific Working Group tasked with developing protocols for estimating carbon sequestration in mangrove, saltmarsh and seagrass environments.
- Wetland Rehabilitation, Restoration and Conservation
- Looking for mice in the mangroves A nationally vulnerable water mouse has been discovered at a wetland rehabilitation site on the Maroochy River, on Queensland's Sunshine Coast. The mouse (Xeromys myoides) was previously unknown at this site, until several nests were discovered in late 2011 by a worker from the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS).
- From dry to DAAMMP - restoring an ephemeral system The Great Darling Anabranch, in south-west New South Wales, is an ancestral path of the Lower Darling River, approximately 480 kilometres long. It is a naturally ephemeral system, but was managed as a permanent water storage supply for landholders until early this century.
- Bibra Lake rehabilitation and climate change The City of Cockburn, in conjunction with the Cockburn Wetlands Education Centre (CWEC), a community volunteer organisation, has been rehabilitating Bibra Lake for a number of years with the intent of restoring the lakes riparian vegetation and re-creating habitat.
- Southern Macquarie Marshes stream enhancement project A new project is underway to maximise the environmental benefits gained from floods and environmental flows in the southern Macquarie Marshes and to help protect downstream wetlands.
- Restoring tidal inundation to improve estuarine wetland habitat in Hexham SwampThe Hexham Swamp Rehabilitation Project involves the progressive opening of floodgates on Ironbark Creek to restore 650 hectares of estuarine wetland in the internationally recognised Hexham Swamp, part of the Hunter Estuary Ramsar Site near Newcastle, NSW.
- Rehabilitation brings swamp wallaby back to Marmong Wetlands Swamp wallabies have returned to Marmong Wetlands at Lake Macquarie in New South Wales after their habitat has been restored by the efforts of dedicated volunteers.
- Toolibin Lake inundation trial The BioRisk project in Western Australia is a great example of collaboration and science informing wetland management in an agricultural zone.
- Wetland Management on Private Land
- The Burrima project - restoration in the Macquarie Marshes Burrima, which means black swan in the language of the Wailwan People, is a 260 hectare property in the Macquarie Marshes that was purchased by a group of local water users in 2005 with the aim of managing the property for restoration and conservation.
- Working together to protect Lake Muir The Lake Muir-Byeneup system in Western Australia is designated under the Ramsar Convention as a wetland of international importance. The South West Catchments Council (SWCC) has been working in partnership with local landholders, community groups and government organisations to protect this important wetland, through reducing the impacts of invasive weeds and pests.
- Wetlands on farms - protecting wetlands in the Namoi Catchment Over the past two years, Peter Lytton-Hitchins and his family have been undertaking a range of on-ground activities to protect and enhance approximately 20 hectares of degraded wetlands on their property, a 5000 hectare working sheep property north of Tamworth on the New England Tablelands in New South Wales. Due to previous clearing and grazing activities, the wetlands and surrounding woodland and forest areas have been degraded to the point where their long-term viability is under threat.
- Private landholders protecting wetlands The Nature Conservation Trust of New South Wales is protecting high conservation value wetlands through its revolving fund program and private land conservation agreements.
- A partnership to restore wetlands on private land in South Australia and Victoria Nature Glenelg Trust is leading a wetland restoration project in the south east of South Australia and south west Victoria.
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