World Wetlands Day 2005 -- Australia
Field and Game Australia
Habitat Conservation Info Report No.1/2005
Installation of "Hilton Deluxe" Nest Boxes to Tanunda Wetlands
in the City of Whittlesea, Victoria, Australia
PURPOSE: These simple reports that I put out from time to time are aimed to inform, educate and promote partnerships and alliances with people and groups from all walks of life.
WEATHER: Heavy Rain - This weather pattern is very unusual as at this time of year we are normally in the middle of summer but we have snow falling high in the Alpine areas. (20cm at Mt. Bulla)
What is World Wetlands Day?
2 February each year is World Wetlands Day. It marks the date of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. WWD was celebrated for the first time in 1997 and made an encouraging beginning. Each year, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and groups of citizens at all levels of the community have taken advantage of the opportunity to undertake actions aimed at raising public awareness of wetland values and benefits in general and the Ramsar Convention in particular. From 1997 to 2004, the Convention's Web site has posted reports from more than 80 countries of WWD activities of all sizes and shapes, from lectures and seminars, nature walks, children's art contests, sampan races, and community clean-up days, to radio and television interviews and letters to newspapers, to the launch of new wetland policies, new Ramsar sites, and new programmes at the national level. . . . . . . .
This year's report will be very short due to heavy rains right across the state of Victoria which are essential for our great wetlands. Unfortunately this extreme weather event has caused the cancellation of our nest box installation for today.
The rain in Victoria commenced the evening of the 1 February 2005 and continues as I write this report. A small but dedicated group attended, but due to the rain another working bee will need to be scheduled at a later time.
Those in attendance from the left, Julia Vanderoord - Community Planning & Environment Project Officer with the City of Whittlesea, Mario DePasquale - Member FGA and Clay Target Co-ordinator Metropolitan Branch, FGA, and Peter Gusatto - Member SSAA (Vic) and myself behind the camera.
If you look closely you can see in the background, level with Peter's shoulder, kangaroos grazing.
The wetlands with an abundance of waterfowl drifting in the morning mist.
NEST BOX RESEARCH PROGRAM
Many species of Australian birds nest in tree hollows. Since European settlement much of the vegetation around wetlands have been removed. Nesting boxes can be a great benefit to wildlife in areas of human habitation where tree hollows have been lost. Monitoring occurs on a 21 day cycle which is essential in improving the efficiency of nest boxes and thus breeding of our native birds of Australia.
Field and Game Australia Metropolitan Branch is managed by members of the City of Whittlesea Community and have over 500 current members.
Wetlands have values which are overlooked by many, not only in Australia but around the world.
"Education is the Key".
They act as flood control basins to slow runoff and release water gradually. When runoff water is held in check, flooding and land erosion are reduced.
Streams and rivers often carry silt and pollutants which can be filtered out in marshland environment. Silt and other materials settle out in calm water where bacteria and marsh vegetation can neutralise wastes.
Most marshland water is continually percolating into the ground, recharging aquifers that often supply water for agriculture, residences and industry. One wetland may not contribute much to the aquifer but hundreds of wetlands have a major positive effect to the quality of water. This cycle of filtering can be lost if widespread destruction of wetlands is practiced.
What will you be doing in a wetlands in 2005?
"Don't just talk about Habitat Conservation get out there and do it"
I look forward to seeing you in the wetlands during 2005.
Conservation Officer/Secretary, Metropolitan Branch, Field and Game Australia
C/O 148 Greenhills Road,
Bundoora. Victoria, Australia. 3083
Field and Game Australia is a voluntary organisation formed by hunters. We partner with Government and the community in the management and sustainable utilisation of Australia's wetlands for future generation by protecting game habitats through conservation. We promote responsible firearm ownership, ethical hunting and clay target shooting. (www.fga.net.au)
- La Trobe University Lifeskills Team who build our great nest boxes.
- Committee and Members of Metropolitan Branch of Field and Game Australia.
- Parks Victoria, through Brendan Sullivan, South Morang.
- Field and Game Australia, Head Office, Seymour. Victoria, Australia.
- Design of the "Hilton Deluxe" nest box - Eddie Walker.
- City of Whittlesea
- Bundoora Central Newsagency
- Sharp Direct - Service Manager, Herman Casagranda
- Melbourne Water
"There's wealth in wetland diversity
- don't lose it!"