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World Wetlands Day celebrated in the South East

February 2018

February 2 was World Wetlands Day and South East Local Land Services marked the day by highlighting some of the recent and ongoing projects the team has been working on.

The South East region accounts for 40% of NSW’s coastline and is home to many coastal and estuarine wetland environments. Wetlands are also prevalent in our inland regions.

Wetlands are a critical part of our environment in the South East and are our greatest asset, as they filter nutrients and sediment from our rivers, bind our coastline preventing erosion and also act as a nursery for important recreational fish species.

Most people also do not realise they act as a carbon sink, removing it from the atmosphere at a faster rate than any other vegetation type. Not only that they are of course beautiful places to spend time enjoying nature.

Coopers Island, Bodalla

Andrew Hart, the new owner of Coopers Island in Bodalla, appreciates the long history of rehabilitation works implemented on his property and is preparing to build upon it by working with us to continue to establish and protect wetland vegetation and the stream bank from erosion.

Andrew will work on his property in 2018 through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program. The aim of the funding is to address the main causes of water quality issues within the Tuross River.

A risk assessment undertaken as part of the Eurobodalla Shire Council’s Tuross Estuary and Coila Lake Coastal Management Plan (2017) identified that agricultural practices and bank erosion causing sedimentation pose the highest risk to the estuary values.

At the same time bank erosion causing loss of agricultural land is the highest risk to agricultural values, so we have designed a project that will provide a positive social, environmental and economic outcome.

Andrew, and six other land managers in the area, will be erecting fencing to prevent stock from entering the river and fringing wetlands, grazing on riparian and wetland vegetation and causing more silt to enter the water.

They will also plant native vegetation on the riverside and fringing wetlands to provide stability for the bank, act as a buffer against erosion and pollutants affecting water quality and provide habitat for native animals.

As part of the project significant areas of coastal saltmarsh and mangroves will be enhanced and protected, both of which are important nursery grounds for many commercial fish.

Better water quality will also improve the productivity and sustainability of oyster farmers on the river and environmental values of the estuary which are important for fishing, recreation and tourism.

You can read more about the project here.

Callala Creek Wetlands Walk

The day was also marked by the opening of the Callala Creek Wetlands Walk. South East Local Land Services provided funding for the development and construction of the walk through the recently completed Wetlands Biodiversity Project Realise the potential of wetlands.

The local community and Shoalhaven City Council are to be congratulated on the resilience shown in completing construction of the walk. You can read more about the walk and some of the trials they faced here.

Wetlands Australia 2018

To help celebrate World Wetlands Day, The Australian Government’s Department of Environment and Energy released Wetlands Australia 2018.

The publication features wetland related stories from across the country. A story on the South East’s Realise the potential of wetlands program is featured on page 30.

To find out more about protecting wetlands and agricultural land in your local area, contact your nearest Local Land Services office.