The Gippsland Lakes Wetlands Project

Fringing wetlands of the Gippsland Lakes provide a refuge for plant and animal species in times of drought. Many of the fringing wetlands are on private land – it’s extremely important that these are protected. Working with landowners to achieve this is part of this project.

Importance of fringing wetlands

  • They provide a suitable environment for key species in times of low water flow when the majority of the Lakes are high in salt.
  • They buffer the lakes themselves from the impacts of land use.
  • They provide breeding grounds for the low end of the food chain that feeds the Lakes’ wildlife.
  • They are home to migratory birds including sharp-tailed sandpipers and greenshanks, wetland birds including spoonbills and egrets, Gippsland red gums, coastal salt marsh, threatened species such as Australasian bittern, golden bell and growling grass frogs.

About the project

Research conducted in this project will be used to identify and protect fringing wetlands on the Gippsland Lakes that are suitable to provide refuge for a multitude of key species during drought.

This project comes in two key parts…

Creating the Prioritisation Plan

Planning for the prioritisation plan has begun with the Arthur Rylah Institute and all existing data is being collated, including:

  • key species
  • salinity
  • land use
  • climate data

Demonstration Sites

Site one is a 100ha wetland at the junction of the Avon and Perry rivers and will be studied in partnership with the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority.

This wetland had been drained, but that channel has been closed and the wetland is returning to its natural cycles. The wetland will now have fresher water and many more plants and animals will be able to thrive there. The removal of the channel has also led to a large reduction in the number of carp, which are very damaging to wetlands health.

Site two is a 36ha wetland near the mouth of the Tambo River, and will be studied in partnership with the East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority. This wetland is also being reinstated after past drainage and will provide very fresh water to the surrounding wetlands.

Working with landholders

Landholders with fringing wetlands on their property are being targeted at the moment to gain local knowledge from their direct observations.

There are plans to work with three properties that have collective wetlands of approximately 120ha in proximity to the Tambo River and Lake King. It is anticipated these areas will become wildlife hotspots.

 

This project is funded by the Victorian State Government for the Gippsland Lakes.

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