Australia names its 57th Ramsar site

Australia names its 57th Ramsar site

5 October 2000
Australia

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The Bureau is pleased to announce that the Commonwealth of Australia has designated its 57th Ramsar site, as of 29 August 2001: the Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands (261 hectares, 38°04’S 145°07’E) comprises two separate wetlands near Melbourne, including both freshwater and brackish lakes (types P, Q, R), both with similar morphology and ecological characteristics and both under an extensive rehabilitation and management regime by Melbourne Water. They are of exceptional significance as examples of cost-effective management of wetlands in an urban setting to provide conservation benefits, manage storm water, and encourage environmental research and education. The site meets Criteria 1 on uniqueness and 2 on support for vulnerable species, and surpasses the 1% threshold for Sharp-tailed Sandpipers (Calidris acuminata). Both wetlands remained after the draining of the once extensive Carrum Carrum Swamp in the 1860s, but additional local draining and encroachments by farming and grazing have continued into this century. In recent decades active flooding has been pursued through management intervention; in the 1980s ingress of saline groundwater resulted in brackish rather than fresh water in the artificial components of the site, but pumping from nearby creeks is returning the site to a freshwater system. A management plan and birdwatching facilities are in place, and education programmes are run by Friends of Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands. [01/10/01]