Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities - June 2011
Paiwalla Wetland, located on the River Murray Floodplain in South Australia, is owned by the Wetland Habitats Trust, a volunteer group.
More than 770 megalitres of Commonwealth environmental water was provided to the wetland from 2008 to 2010, to help support the site through drought conditions.
Ecological monitoring has shown positive responses to recent rainfall and environmental watering, including increased fish populations and improved river red gum health.
The ecological monitoring program that assists with the management of Paiwalla Wetland is a combined effort between the Wetland Habitats Trust and the South Australian Murray Darling Basin Natural Resources Management Board. Paiwalla Wetland has been a part of this program since 2003.
V/O Nestled among farmland in country South Australia, this watery haven for bush wildlife is in good hands.
Paiwalla Wetland is under the dedicated guardianship of the Wetland Habitats Trust - a group of volunteers, who own and protect this environmental site on the River Murray.
The river shares its water with farms and towns and recently suffered through a ten-year drought that finally broke late last year.
By working with Commonwealth environmental water and the South Australian Government, the trust was able to help Paiwalla survive that long drought.
More than 770 megalitres of Commonwealth environmental water - about 400 Olympic swimming pools worth - was provided to Paiwalla from 2008 to 2010.
With the water, the wetland was able to act as a drought refuge for native species.
Steve Scown, Wetland Habitats Trust: "In the first year of the drought, you could drive all over the bed of the wetland. It was a little extreme this drought so we were very fortunate to have some water otherwise we would have lost a lot of vegetation, just through death. Because we could keep watering we've been able to keep not just the vegetation going but the bats, the frogs, the fish."
The Wetland Habitats Trust keeps a close eye on the native animals that call Paiwalla home.
Kate Mason, Wetlands Project Officer, South Australian Government: "All of the monitoring for the birds is basically done by the group itself.
You've got a lovely skill set within the group itself and their bird ID skills are a lot better than mine so that's something that the group will do on a monthly basis. In conjunction to that we'll look at some other biotic responses in frogs. Frog populations here are amazing."
The group's monitoring has shown promising responses to environmental watering and recent rainfall.
Tadpoles and juvenile fish are thriving and river red gum canopies are thickening with new growth.
The monitoring efforts provide valuable information that will help Commonwealth environmental water to make watering decisions here in the future.
Steve Scown, Wetland Habitats Trust: "All a lot of work, but it's worth it I think, it certainly is worth it."