The environmental importance of the Gwydir Wetlands Ramsar site is being preserved by the next generation of young Australians.
While continuing his tour of the northern Murray-Darling Basin today, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment Bob Baldwin met local sixteen-year-old bird watching enthusiast Curtis Haynes.
Mr Baldwin said Curtis, who is passionate about monitoring birdlife within the Gwydir Wetlands and the Moree Shire, first started bird watching when he was nine and regularly submits his observation reports to bird-monitoring websites.
“The citizen science movement is growing rapidly in Australia and is already making an important contribution to our collective knowledge of our natural environment and as Curtis is proving, age is no barrier to participation,” Mr Baldwin said.
“It’s fantastic to meet young Australians, like Curtis, who have a keen interest in learning about their local environment and in contributing to a wider understanding of the wonderful and varied birdlife inhabiting the Gwydir Wetlands.
“A healthy and thriving Gwydir Wetlands is another example of how the Australian Government is helping to protect and restore important environmental assets for future generations.”
During 2014-15 the Australian Government, through the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder, released a record 56,939 megalitres of environmental water into the wetlands for the recovery of wetland habitat and to improve water quality in the Mehi River and Carole Creek systems.
“We want to ensure the health of the Wetlands, and the entire Basin, for future generations, which is why it’s so important the Murray-Darling Basin Plan delivers the best triple bottom line outcomes for communities, economies and environments,” Mr Baldwin said.
“By capping water buybacks to 1500 gigalitres and investing in on- and off-farm water efficiencies, we’re ensuring the health of the Basin and productive agriculture.
“The Gwydir Wetlands are an important breeding ground for waterbirds, supporting some of the largest waterbird breeding colonies in Australia.
“Over 235 species of birds have been observed in the wetlands, including the endangered Australasian bittern and painted snipe.
“The area is also home to native mammals, including the Eastern water rat, swamp wallaby and narrow-nosed planigale, and is an important fish breeding area this is why Basin Plan implementation is so important.”
Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton said the Wetlands are an important ecological and economic site in the region.
“The health of the wetlands not only contributes to the overall health of the Murray-Darling Basin, it’s also a fantastic attraction for wildlife enthusiasts,” Mr Coulton said.
“I’m proud of the work that has been done to regenerate wildlife in the Gwydir.”
Australia has 65 Ramsar wetlands that cover more than 8.3 million hectares.
Media contact: Andrew Kos, 0402 742 206