Wetland hot topics
Piccaninnie Ponds Karst Wetlands – Australia’s new wetland of international importance
On 21 December 2012, Piccaninnie Ponds Karst Wetlands in South Australia was designated as a Ramsar site under the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat.
The Piccaninnie Ponds Karst Wetlands Ramsar Site is located 32 kilometres south-east of Mount Gambier and comprises the 862 hectare Piccaninnie Ponds Conservation Park.
The site is an exceptional example of karst and coastal fen wetlands, with groundwater springs reaching more than 110 metres in depth. The pools are renowned for their water clarity, supporting aquatic vegetation down to 15 metres below the surface. It is one of the few remaining permanent freshwater wetlands in the lower south-east of South Australia.
To find out more about Ramsar Wetlands in Australia see:
World Wetlands Day
World Wetlands Day is celebrated internationally each year on 2 February. In 2013 the theme is ‘Wetlands take care of water’. Visit the World Wetlands Day page to find community events around the country and World Wetlands Day resources including factsheets, brochures, videos and classroom resources.
New wetland factsheets
The Australian Government has released a series of new wetland factsheets that were developed with the assistance of the Wetlands and Waterbirds Taskforce:
- The wise use of wetlands in Australia
- Wetlands in Australia - roles and responsibilities
- Notification of change in ecological character
- Limits of acceptable change
- Australia’s obligations under the Ramsar Convention: Legislative support for wetlands
Australian Ramsar site nomination guidelines
The Australian Ramsar site nomination guidelines were released in late 2012 and are the 4th module of the Australian National Guidelines for Ramsar Wetlands - Implementing the Ramsar Convention in Australia. These guidelines outline the Australian Government's processes and requirements for adding sites to the list of Ramsar wetlands, thus providing a nationally consistent framework for Ramsar site nominations in Australia and its offshore territories. Site nominations can be made by the Australian or state/territory governments, non-government organisations, community entities, trusts, Traditional Owners, individuals, private landowners or a company. Nominations require the support of the relevant state/territory government, each of which has priorities and processes for identifying and supporting a Ramsar site nomination.
Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth Recovery Project
Under the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth Recovery Project, the Australian Government has approved more than $162.8 million in projects to preserve the region’s unique ecological character as a wetland of international importance.
$33.4 million has been provided for early works at the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth including a feasibility study for the long term management of the site, and construction of the Clayton and Currency Creek regulators as an emergency measure to prevent further exposure of acid sulfate soils in the channels as a result of the previous drought.
$122.6 million in funding has been contracted to support the South Australian Government’s Long-Term Plan for the region including:
- Up to $38.9 million for a Vegetation and Fish Program to stabilise the ecology of the region and to deliver a healthy and resilient wetland through plantings to restore habitat, manage pests and to protect revegetated areas.
- Up to $47.7 million, to reduce salinity levels in the Coorong South Lagoon and reintroduce the aquatic plant Ruppia to the Coorong to boost the region’s ecology
- Up to $6.3 million to build capacity in the region by supporting Ngarrindjeri Partnerships to use their long-term knowledge and traditions for restoring health of the region, the continuation of the Lakes Hubs at Milang and Meningie, and the establishment of a regional Community Advisory Panel to provide for community representation to inform planning and on-ground works.
$6.8 million in funding has been committed to decommission the Narrung Bund, Clayton Regulator and Currency Creek Regulator and restore hydrological connectivity.
The Australian Government has also contributed an additional $9.6 million for a Bioremediation and Revegetation Project to help address the risks from the exposure of acid sulfate soils and up to $120 million for an integrated network of pipes to service the Lower Lakes townships, communities and irrigators and improve their water security and water quality.