New South Wales announces wetland as globally protected

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The convention, to which Australia has already signed 67 sites, is designed to promote the conservation of wetlands, and establish nature reserves in areas important for biological diversity…reports Asian Lite News.

The government of New South Wales (NSW) on Sunday announced that a large wetland area in the Australian state’s northwest would be listed as an internationally important wetland.

The proposed listing of Caryapundy Swamp is Australia’s latest addition to the global 1971 Ramsar Convention agreement, and would add approximately 700 square km of protected wetlands in NSW, bringing the country’s total listed area to over 8.37 million hectares, reports Xinhua news agency.

The convention, to which Australia has already signed 67 sites, is designed to promote the conservation of wetlands, and establish nature reserves in areas important for biological diversity.

Australia’s Minister for Environment Sussan Ley said the site would play “a critical role for species like the Australasian Shoveler, Grey Teal and Red-necked Avocet which use the site as a drought refuge”.

The swamp is situated in a major basin which captures floodwaters from across a basin in the state’s northwest, and during times of flood more than 100,000 birds have been known to flock to the wetlands surrounding Caryapundy.

Floods represent an important factor in the life cycle of wetlands, and many Australian bird species require substantial flooding in order to trigger large-scale breeding events.

The wetlands are also an important stop-off point for migratory shorebirds that fly to southern Australia during the winter.

The status would prevent these waters from being rerouted to reservoirs or for use in agriculture.

NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean said it was the first site that has been nominated by the state government in over a decade.

“This application is the result of close collaboration between NSW and the Commonwealth, as well as consultation with Aboriginal stakeholders and traditional owners on the significant cultural values the region has,” said Kean.

“This convention is the global gold standard for wetland conservation and will shine an international spotlight on the area driving economic opportunities, including tourism, for the local community.”

The listing coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Ramsar Convention.

Kean said that there are a total of 2,400 wetlands listed worldwide, which protects over 254.6 million hectares of critical waterbird habitat.

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