World Wetlands Day is on February 2, and South East Local Land Services asks the community to reflect on the incredible ecosystems that provide so much.
This year marks 50 years of the Convention of Wetlands of International Importance, known as the Ramsar Convention.
South East Local Land Services (SELLS) said wetlands were important for agriculture and oyster producers, and are prime spots for recreation and tourism, provide buffers from severe weather events and were vital nurseries for recreational and commercial fish stocks. Sonia Bazzacco of SELLS said wetlands were special and it was essential to look after them.
"The events of the last few years, from significant drought, to widespread fires, have really emphasised the importance and role of water in our communities and the significance of our wetlands," Ms Bazzacco said.
Threats to wetlands in the South East include stock accessing and damaging waterways, nutrient and pollutant run off from urban and agricultural areas and wetland weeds. SELLS has been working with land managers to protect wetland communities such as saltmarsh.
"Saltmarsh play an important role as an environmental filter, trapping sediment and nutrients from our estuaries, providing a buffer to our shore lines from erosion and providing food and habitat to numerous species of fish and migratory birds." Ms Bazzacco said.
"We've been able to work with six land managers over the last year to fence off over 20 hectares of saltmarsh in the Shoalhaven and Moruya Rivers, Currumbene Creek and Burill Lake, protecting these areas from stock incursions and enhancing its potential to perform its amazing role in our estuaries.
She said the protection and enhancement of these wetlands reduce impacts of climate change.
"Saltmarsh absorbs more carbon and at a faster rate than any other vegetation community - even rainforest," Ms Bazzaco said.
The project is supported by South East Local Land Services, through funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Program.
Work to address the impact that the Southern fires had on local wetlands has also been delivered with support through the Australian Government's Wildlife and Habitat Bushfire Recovery Program.
Post fires, erosion control work was also carried out across the Deua and Clyde river catchments to minimise the risk of a rain event increasing runoff into waterways and wetlands.
Targeted weed control work has also been carried out along the Upper Tuross, Clyde and Deua rivers to allow native plants the space and time to regenerate without the extra competition posed by invasive weeds
To find out more about ongoing projects, contact Sonia Bazzacco on 0429 998 585.