Trust for Nature’s wetland estate
Rainfall has been higher than average in 2010 and 2011. This has triggered a time of renewal for all ecosystems, but none more so than Victoria’s wetlands and waterways. Wetlands have responded to the higher flows and there has been a dramatic improvement in the health of many trees and a huge increase in the number of frogs, waterbirds and fish.
Trust for Nature’s protected wetlands
Trust for Nature and covenantors have so far protected 1136ha of private-land wetlands across the State (as of June 2011). Using the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment’s wetlands classification system, these protected wetlands are a mix of Deep Freshwater Marsh, Shallow Freshwater Marsh, Freshwater Meadows, Permanent Saline Wetlands, Semi-saline wetlands and Open Water.
And using the Departments even more detailed 'Ecological Vegetation Classes' (EVC) mapping system, the protected wetlands have helped to protect 20 of the 82 wetland EVCs found in Victoria. EVCs that are significantly protected on Trust for Nature properties and covenants include Cane Grass Wetland/Lignum Swamp Woodland Mosaic (42% of the total remaining extent of 621ha is permanently protected on private land); Lignum Swamps and Red Gum Swamps.
As the past few years have shown, the adage ‘just add water’ is especially true for wetland systems. This ability for wetlands to repair and transform when water is provided has encouraged the Trust to start more active intervention programs to help bring water back to our wetlands. In December 2010 we added environmental water to a wetland at Neds Corner Station and inundated the adjacent floodplain.
In other parts of the State, we are planning infrastructure works to help restore flows to other wetlands that provide Brolga habitat. Trusts for Nature has also assisted in the formation of a community-based Brolga Recovery Group, who have been busy looking at ways to encourage Brolga-friendly habitat on private land. You can find out more information about The Bring Back the Brolga project here.
Managing your wetlands
A variety of tools are needed to manage wetlands but ‘just add water’ is a useful starting point for every wetland. We also know that removing domestic stock from wetlands and waterways has substantial benefits in terms of water quality, plant species diversity and frog abundance. If you own a wetland and would like to protect it, Trust of Nature has a range of different tools to help you conserve some of the most important and often overlooked natural assets. If you would like more information about land management advice, please visit our website here.