World Wetlands Day 2013 - Wetlands take care of water
World Wetlands Day will be celebrated around the world this Saturday, 2 February. The day marks the anniversary of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (the Ramsar Convention) in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971. The theme for World Wetlands Day 2013 is 'Wetlands take care of water', acknowledging that wetlands play an important role in improving water quality, providing flood alleviation and groundwater recharge. To find out about World Wetlands Day events around the country, such as nature walks, festivals and hands-on activities visit World Wetlands Day.
Australia's 65th Ramsar site: Piccaninnie Ponds video now online
Photo: Richard Harris
Photo: Kirsty Wilkes
On Friday 25 January, Piccaninnie Ponds Karst Wetlands in South Australia was announced as Australia's newest Ramsar site under the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance. It is Australia's 65th Ramsar site and now ranks alongside Kakadu National Park, the Macquarie Marshes and Moreton Bay as a protected area of significant ecological value.
The site meets five of the nine Ramsar Convention listing criteria. It is an exceptional example of karst and coastal fen wetlands, with groundwater springs reaching more than 110 metres in depth. The pools are renowned for their water clarity and support aquatic vegetation up to 15 metres below the surface (as shown in the cave diving picture below). The wetlands also support a number of nationally threatened species, including the orange-bellied parrot and the Australasian bittern. They provide breeding and spawning habitat for native fish species such as the Yarra pygmy perch and dwarf galaxias. For more information on this site see the factsheet and the Piccaninnie Ponds Ramsar listing.
A video has been produced to showcase the unique features and wildlife of the wetlands, both above ground and underwater. Watch the video on the Department's Youtube channel, Envirgov: www.youtube.com/user/deptenvironment .
Wetlands Australia is a twice yearly publication by the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. Wetlands Australia brings together information and resources from across Australia relating to wetlands conservation, management and education.
The February issue of Wetlands Australia is now online. Stories include how satellite images are used to track flooding in the Macquarie Marshes for better environmental water management, farmers protecting wetlands in dry weather and how indigenous cultural and spiritual values are considered in water quality management strategies.
Read the magazine or subscribe online at Wetlands Australia.
Call for submissions by 28 February 2013: Draft Environmental Water Recovery Strategy
Further to our article in the December issue, comments on the draft Environmental Water Recovery Strategy are requested by the department by 28 February 2013.
The draft strategy sets out the Australian Governments proposed approach to recovering water for the environment in the Murray-Darling Basin. The department welcomes comments on the draft strategy to help refine the process over coming years. The proposed approach builds on consultations with state governments, Basin communities and industry bodies, through stakeholder panels, community meetings, and public submissions.
The Strategy will involve an adaptive approach taking account of Basin Plan developments such as the operation of the sustainable diversion limit adjustment mechanism and water yields from the Government's investments in infrastructure savings.
To read the Environmental Water Recovery Strategy and make a submission visit Draft Environmental Water Recovery Strategy for the Murray-Darling Basin.
Comments on the draft strategy can be submitted by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mail to the following address:
Water Recovery Team
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Populations and Communities
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601
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