Wetland hot topics

World Wetlands Day

World Wetlands Day is celebrated internationally each year on 2 February. The 2015 global theme is Wetlands for our Future. Please visit the Department’s World Wetlands Day page for information relating to World Wetlands Day, including a calendar of community events around the country and World Wetlands Day resources including factsheets, brochures, videos and classroom resources.

Showcasing Australian Ramsar sites

The Australian Government has released a new publication, 'Celebrating Australia's wetlands: A showcase of Australian Ramsar sites'. The publication showcases 23 Australian Ramsar sites, including the iconic Kakadu National Park in the top end, Barmah Forest in the Murray-Darling Basin, the Coorong and Lakes Alexandrina and Albert Ramsar wetland in South Australia and Moulting Lagoon in Tasmania. The publication highlights the unique environmental and cultural aspects of these sites, and demonstrates the wide diversity of wetland ecosystems across the country.

New mapping guidelines for Australian Ramsar sites

The Australian Government has released the Boundary Description and Mapping Guidelines for Ramsar wetlands. The Guidelines provide guidance and extensive examples on how to describe boundaries, generate and manage spatial data and produce maps for Australian Ramsar sites. They are intended to assist Ramsar site managers and agencies that have a role in the preparation and approval of documentation for Ramsar wetlands. The guidelines update and replace the Mapping Specifications for Australian Ramsar Wetlands (Version 1), and can be accessed on the Department's website.

40th Anniversary of the world's first Ramsar site, Cobourg Peninsula, NT

In 2014 the Australian Government is celebrating the 40th anniversary of Cobourg Peninsula being listed as the world's first Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention. In May 1974 Australia showed leadership and commitment to the Convention by listing this remote and unspoilt wilderness area in the Northern Territory.

Australia's commitment to identifying and conserving its environmental assets, especially those of global significance, continues to the present day. Australia now has 65 wetlands on the Ramsar list, covering 8.3 million hectares.

Piccaninnie Ponds Karst Wetlands – Australia's 65th 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.

New wetland factsheets

The Australian Government has released a new factsheet to provide further information on the World Wetlands Day theme, 'Wetlands and Agriculture: Partners for Growth'.

Previous wetland factsheets that were developed with the assistance of the Wetlands and Waterbirds Taskforce include:

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.