Award for Murray Wetlands Working Group
Ramsar site co-managers win Australian "National Thiess Riverprize"
Last week the co-managers of the "NSW Central Murray State Forests" Ramsar site, along the Murray River in Australia, were awarded the 'National Thiess Riverprize' for excellence in management and restoration of wetlands (and ~ USD $80,000), at the 10th International RiverSymposium, Brisbane, Australia, 3-6 September 2007. See: http://www.riversymposium.com/index.php?page=ThiessRiverprize.
Photo: atmosphere photography / RiverSymposium
The "Murray Wetlands Working Group" conserves and restores wetlands over a vast area of the state of New South Wales, and are renowned for their innovative use of water rights to inundate wetlands that no longer receive beneficial natural flooding due to excessive water abstraction in the basin. Some of these water rights have been obtained through saving water by drying out Ramsar-listed wetlands that were being flooded unnaturally in summer, as part of the delivery of irrigation water to farmers. More information about the Group's excellent work can be found at: http://www.mwwg.org.au/. The Group co-manages the wetlands of the NSW Central Murray State Forests Ramsar site with the land managers, NSW State Forests.
The NSW Murray Wetlands Working Group rehabilitates degraded wetlands and improves the management of wetlands throughout the River Murray and Lower Murray Darling catchments in New South Wales by linking community involvement and best scientific understanding. The NSW Murray Wetlands Working Group's membership comprises independent landholders and representatives of community groups, local councils, non-government and government agencies. The depth of experience, technical skills and expertise that all members of the Group provide is utilised to guide and manage the Group's activities in consultation with the wider community.
It is to be hoped that the award of the Riverprize to the Murray Wetlands Working Group will ensure ongoing state government support for this most unique and effective organisation for broad-scale, community-based wetlands conservation.
Jamie Pittock, James Pittock Consulting
(Mr) Jamie Pittock
WWF Research Associate
(Former Director, WWF Global Freshwater Programme)
GPO Box 408
Canberra ACT 2601 Australia
[Note: The International Thiess Riverprize 2007 was won by the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR).]
NSW Central Murray State Forests
Experimental patch burning of the dry bed of Moira Lake, intended to stimulate greater aquatic vegetation diversity. Millewa State Forest, NSW Central Murray State Forests Ramsar site. (photos courtesy Jamie Pittock)
Wetlands in Millewa State Forest (photos courtesy Li Lifeng, WWF China)