Improving Wetland Health in the Burnett Mary
Jun 27, 2016
The Burnett Mary Regional Group for Natural Resource Management (BMRG) has been working with local Landcare and community groups to improve the health of priority wetlands within the region.
The Burnett Mary Region contains a diverse range of wetland systems including internationally significant Ramsar wetlands and sites listed in the Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia (2003). The region has significant ecological and hydrological connectivity with the waters of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) encompassing 12% of its total contributing catchment.
The Great Barrier Reef Report Card 2014 recorded a loss of 6027 hectares of natural wetlands in the region between 2009 and 2013. In addition, the marine water quality and seagrass was classified as poor. With funding provided by the Queensland government, around 420 hectares of freshwater and estuarine wetlands have been protected and enhanced between 2013 and 2016 in the region. A range of on-ground works such as stock and vehicle exclusion fencing, removal of invasive weeds and reinstatement of natural hydrology were implemented.
Wetland riparian zones have also been planted with native species to increase riparian buffer zones. This work has been complemented by additional wetland protection projects undertaken in other biodiversity programs managed by BMRG. BMRG Biodiversity Program manager, Kirsten Wortel, says that the program has helped maintain the extent of natural wetlands and improve their functionality.
“This in turn generates improved water quality benefits for the marine environment as wetlands perform a cleansing function by filtering sediment and nutrients. Wetlands also play a critical role in providing species habitat. Many of our region’s species rely heavily on healthy wetlands for food and shelter” Ms Wortel said.
In addition, wetlands store carbon, protect against flood damage and play an integral role in local economies through tourism.
Almost $190,000 has just been committed by the Queensland government to continue wetland protection and restoration works over the next year.
This new round of funding will be invested to help the local community to continue this important work in providing positive onground environmental and natural resource management outcomes.
MEDIA ENQUIRES: Chris Stone
TELEPHONE: 07 4181 2999