Valley

Paddock dips blooming with hidden treasures

Tuesday 4 February, 2014
A rare ecological gem may be going unnoticed on many properties across the Goulburn Broken Catchment.

A rare ecological gem may be going unnoticed on many properties across the Goulburn Broken Catchment.


Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (CMA) ecologist Dr Jenny Wilson said seasonal herbaceous wetlands were listed as critically endangered under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) in 2012.


Seasonal herbaceous wetlands are generally on clay soils and only fill up and hold water after rain. They are found across the Agriculture Floodplains in the Catchment’s north and in valleys in the Strathbogies.

 
 “Many landholders with seasonal herbaceous wetlands would be unaware of just how special these unique ecological systems are because they are often considered to be just ‘dips in the paddock’,” Dr Wilson said.


“This means they’re often ploughed and grazed.”


Other threats include clearing, draining or flooding, salinity, nutrient run off, weeds and over grazing.


“Given most of these wetlands are on private land we’re keen to work with landholders to identify and protect  sites over one hectare in size,“ Dr Wilson said.


Grants are available for fencing and other works to manage grazing and allow the wetlands to bloom.


“If they’re protected a range of really amazing plants can be seen. This includes freshwater algae such as stoneworts and grasses including swamp wallaby grass and rush sedge,” she said. “These plants in turn attract waders and other birds and insects – they really are quite beautiful when they come to life after the rain.”


For more information, contact Dr Jenny Wilson on 5820 1100 or email jennyw@gbcma.vic.gov.au

Wet seasonal herbacious wetland.  Photo:  Rick James

 

The same wetland when dry.  Photo:  Damien Cook