World Wetlands Day 2006 in Australia

23/02/2006

WWD 2006 in Tasmania

Dear Ramsar Secretariat,

I would like to report a number of activities held in Tasmania for World Wetlands Day 2006.

World Wetlands Day was celebrated by various organisations by promoting a range of wetland-related activities throughout Tasmania.

The three Tasmanian Natural Resource Management Associations, NRM South; NRM North and NRM Cradle Coast, announced significant wetland conservation projects, including updating the “Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia 2001" (Tasmanian Wetlands); and the provision of ecological character descriptions for three Ramsar wetlands in Tasmania.

The Chair of NRM South, Mr Ollie Hedberg said the projects were important because they ensure that vital information on important Tasmanian wetlands, including the Ramsar listed wetlands of Moulting Lagoon near Swansea, Interlaken Lakeside Reserve on Lake Crescent and the East Coast Cape Barren Island Lagoons, is readily available.

Other events were held at Mt Field National Park, South Bruny National Park, Narawntapu National Park, Tamar Island Wetland Centre and the Mary Street Wetlands in Devonport.

An activity of particular note was a field day sponsored by Conservation Volunteers Australia in partnership with the Tasmanian Land Conservancy and Vodaphone at the magnificent Moulting Lagoon Ramsar Wetland on the State's East Coast. Work began on the restoration of Longpoint Reserve with a day of exotic weed removal marking the first step towards restoring the area to its natural condition (attached photo of Long Point Reserve on Moulting Lagoon by Matt Newton of Australian Volunteers for Conservation).

Ashley Greenwood, Technical Manager - Water,
NAP Region, Southern Regional NRM Association (NRM South)
(nap.water@nrmsouth.org.au, www.nrmtas.com.au)
New Town, Hobart, Tasmania

For more information, visit the NRM South webpage (www.nrmtas.com.au) or contact Ashley Greenwood at NRM South.

World Wetlands Day - February 2nd

World Wetlands Day marks the anniversary of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar Convention) in Ramsar, Iran, on 2 February 1971.

The theme for World Wetlands Day 2006 is 'Wetlands and water supporting life, sustaining livelihoods'.

To celebrate World Wetlands Day NRM South and its regional partners NRM North and NRM Cradle Coast, announced two important state-wide initiatives funded by the Australian Government's Natural Heritage Trust.

The initiatives include updating the "Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia 2001" (Tasmanian Wetlands); and the provision of ecological character descriptions for three Ramsar wetlands in Tasmania including Moulting Lagoon near Swansea.

Tasmania has ten Ramsar sites, four of which lie within the Southern NRM region including Pitt Water/ Orielton Lagoon, Apsley Marshes, Interlaken Lakeside Reserve and Moulting Lagoon Game Reserve. Other outstanding wetland areas within the Southern region include Calverts Lagoon, Egg Island, Southport, Murphy's Flat and Goulds Lagoon.

Wetlands Worth Protecting

Are the wetland areas in your municipality receiving the protection they deserve?

Many wetland areas have been destroyed for urban expansion, cleared and drained for agriculture, or impacted by industrial activity. Clearing and developing wetlands downgrades their value as diverse systems with the potential to assist in filtering and improving water quality.

Habitat loss places pressure on plants and animals and a significant number of Tasmanian wetlands have suffered species extinction along with the introduction of exotics. In recent years draining and clearing of wetlands has slowed, but alterations to flow regimes and water quality has become a major degrading influence, particularly with the encroachment of urban development and associated pollution and sedimentation.

Poorly managed agriculture continues to degrade wetland systems. Unrestricted grazing can destroy significant shore-based vegetation and set up a cycle of further destruction including erosion of exposed banks, increased turbidity and faecal contamination. Unsustainable irrigation practices have the potential to elevate groundwater levels and increase the salinity of wetlands.

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