The health of the Gippsland Lakes was the focus of a recent wetlands index of condition training course hosted by Trust for Nature and delivered by the Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research.
The course, held over two days in September, included site visits to three significant wetlands close to Bairnsdale and Lake Victoria.
The participants learnt how to score sites based on factors like vegetation, hydrology and local catchment processes.
This provides a snapshot on the condition and health of the wetland at the time of assessment.
The assessment can also be used to monitor any change in wetland health as a result of environmental works such as weed control and fencing. It will also help agencies identify risks and set management priorities.
Attendees included representatives from Trust for Nature, East and West Gippsland Catchment Management Authorities, East Gippsland Shire Council, East Gippsland Rainforest and Gippsland Plains Conservation Management Networks.
The training supports the Gippsland Lakes Care Groups - Linking People, Land & Lakes project funded by the State Government for the Gippsland Lakes.
Participants were excited to see a Latham's Snipe in the middle of Bairnsdale, at a small wetland behind the local aquatic centre. Near threatened in Victoria, these migratory birds come from as far as northern Japan.
( Main image of Latham's Snipe, courtesy of Albert Wright www.gypsytwitchers.com )