A Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia: Third edition

Environment Australia, 2001

ISBN 0 642 54721 1

About the Directory

To develop A Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia (the Directory) is an ambitious undertaking that encompasses a number of important elements. The Directory not only identifies important wetlands, it provides a substantial knowledge base of what defines wetlands, their variety and the dependence on them of many flora and fauna species. Many of Australia's wetlands are unique and very distinct. Without the Directory we would not have the valuable catalogue of these unique ecosystems that now exists.

The first edition of A Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia (ANCA 1993) was a collaborative effort between the Commonwealth Government and each of the State and Territory nature conservation agencies. A total of 517 wetlands qualified as nationally important and were included in the Directory. The second edition of A Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia (ANCA 1996) built on the information of the first edition, with a review of existing entries and the addition of 181 new site entries, bringing the total to 698 nationally important wetlands.

The information used to populate the Directory data set is provided in the main by State and Territory agencies, some of which are receiving funds for inventory projects under the National Wetlands Program of the Natural Heritage Trust to update and expand their State and Territory Chapters.

Since publication of the second edition of the Directory in 1996, extensive survey work has been undertaken, particularly in the north-west and south coast regions of New South Wales and in Victoria, to assess important streams and rivers. An inventory of important wetlands on Commonwealth owned and managed areas has also been undertaken.

Brief Summary and Analysis of Directory Data

The Directory describes 851 wetlands that have qualified as nationally important against the Criteria for inclusion outlined in Chapter 2. Of these wetlands, 56 are designated to the List of Wetlands of International Importance of the Ramsar Convention. These sites are summarised in Chapter 4.

The distribution of Australia's nationally important wetlands is shown at Figure 1. A breakdown of nationally important wetlands by State and Territory and area coverage is provided at Table 1.2. Wetlands occurring on land owned or managed by the Commonwealth in continental Australia, such as Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory, are listed geographically under the relevant State or Territory chapter. There are no Commonwealth listings in the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania. Wetlands of the External Territories under Commonwealth jurisdiction are described in Chapter 13.