February 2 is World Wetlands Day and while the theme for 2018 is ‘wetlands for a sustainable urban future’ the Far South Coast Local Land Services team, partnering with local land managers and the Eurobodalla Shire Council, have been hard at work in and around the Tuross River to make sure that the river and the communities and industries it supports, have a sustainable future too.
Andrew Hart, the new owner of Coopers Island in Bodalla, appreciates the long history of rehabilitation works implemented on his property and is preparing to build upon it by working with Local Land Services (LLS) to continue to establish and protect wetland vegetation and the stream bank from erosion.
Above: Andrew Hart on his property at Coopers Island Bodalla.
"I see this project as a win for the environment and for the property.” Andrew said.
Andrew will work on his property in 2018 through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program. The aim of the funding is to address the main causes of water quality issues within the Tuross River.
A risk assessment undertaken as part of the Eurobodalla Shire Council’s Tuross Estuary and Coila Lake Coastal Management Plan (2017) identified that agricultural practices and bank erosion causing sedimentation pose the highest risk to the estuary values.
At the same time bank erosion causing loss of agricultural land is the highest risk to agricultural values, so the LLS team have designed a project that will provide a positive social, environmental and economic outcome.
“Through this project I’m hoping to prevent river bank loss, improve water quality and protect the many sensitive wetlands on my property".
Andrew, and six other land managers in the area, will be erecting fencing to prevent stock from entering the river and fringing wetlands, grazing on riparian and wetland vegetation and causing more silt to enter the water.
They will also plant native vegetation on the riverside and fringing wetlands to provide stability for the bank, act as a buffer against erosion and pollutants effecting water quality and provide habitat for native animals.
As part of the project significant areas of coastal saltmarsh and mangroves will be enhanced and protected, both of which are important nursery grounds for many commercial fish.
Better water quality will also improve the productivity and sustainability of oyster farmers on the river and environmental values of the estuary which are important for fishing, recreation and tourism.
“Wetlands are a critical part of our environment in the South East and are our greatest asset, as they filter nutrients and sediment from our rivers, bind our coastline preventing erosion and also act as a nursery for important recreational fish species” said Sonia Bazzacco, LLS Land Services Officer.
“Most people also do not realise they act as a carbon sink, removing it from the atmosphere at a faster rate than any other vegetation type. Not only that they are of course beautiful places to spend time enjoying nature.”
To find out more about this project or how you can help manage wetlands in the South East call Sonia Bazzacco on 0429 998 585.