Across the Gippsland Lakes there are over 30,000 ha of fringing wetlands. These wetlands are home to native wildlife and a feeding ground for migratory shorebirds.
But what if, in a changing climate, these wetlands can become even more critical to our region’s environment? That’s the vision of Greening Australia’s Marty Potts and the Gippsland Lakes Wetlands Project.
“ These wetlands provide a refuge for birds and wildlife during drier times,” explained Marty, “and as the climate changes and conditions become drier, the drought safe havens within the wetlands will become even more important.”
Greening Australia, together with the Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation and East and West Gippsland catchment management authorities are working to protect and improve the condition of these wetlands.
Two demonstration sites have been set up to establish how wetlands can be managed for conservation.
“ More than 80% of the fringing wetlands of the Gippsland Lakes are on private property,” continued Marty.
“ We’re working with landowners and farmers to show how this part of their land can be managed for future conservation.”
One of the key project areas is the Clydebank Morass wetland complex, which covers over 2,000ha and extends along the shore of Lake Wellington from the confluence of the Avon and Perry rivers. The wetland habitat, particularly the freshwater refuges that exist within them, support important life stages for a range of bird and wildlife species.
“ Without these refuges – it will be difficult for many of the species that rely upon them to survive,” said Marty, “the Gippsland Lakes are world renowned for the bird and wildlife that live and migrate annually to them.”
“ The fringing wetlands of the Lakes play a massive role in helping ensure their health and providing a home and shelter to many amazing species. Making programs such as this vital for the future.”
This project is funded by the Victorian State Government for the health of the Gippsland Lakes.