Restoration of rivers, streams and wetlands
Freshwater ecosystems are rich in species
and ecosystem productivity but are highly impacted by centuries of human
utilisation. Efforts to rehabilitate rivers, streams and wetlands are
necessary not only for the conservation of biodiversity but also for their
value to humans.
Freshwater restoration and rehabilitation, however, is fraught with difficulties including the high dynamism of riparian and floodplain ecosystems (in response to extremes of flood and drought), problems of connectivity / lack of connectivity; and competing interests between environmental management and human resource extraction.
There is a considerable amount of freshwater restoration work underway in Australia, ranging from small scale efforts to large-scale efforts including pollution remediation, reinstating environmental flows, riparian and floodplain rehabilitation, targeted fish recovery and the removal of barrier to fish passage.
1. Murray-Darling Basin Authority's Riverine
The Riverine Recovery Project (RRP) is a $98 million joint Australian and State Government initiative to improve the health of the River Murray and its wetlands and floodplains from the South Australian border to Wellington. This involves a wide range of actions including the return of environmental water to the rivers and wetlands.
- Coorong Lower Lakes Murray Mouth
- Living Murray - Chowilla floodplain icon site
2. Murrray wetlands rewatering.
The Watering Wetlands on Private Properties Project has seen 74,152 ML of environmental water delivered to 215 wetlands covering over 67,238 hectares. Since the project began, the number of land managers involved has increased from 10 to 150 overall. Monitoring has demonstrated a vast improvement in vegetation health, particularly the dominant riparian and floodplain tree, River Red Gum, and subsequently the fauna that utilise these wetlands. The aquatic vegetation at various wetland sites has provided dynamic habitats for water birds and amphibians.
3. Some other sites
- Coorong and Lower Lakes restoration, South Australia
- Alpine Bogs and Fens, New South Wales, Australia
- Winton Wetlands, Victoria, Australia
- Trust for Nature wetlands, Victoria, Australia
- Nature Glenelg Trust wetlands, South Australia and Victoria, Australia
- Kooragang wetlands, Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia