Wetlands play a vital role in the local environment, providing habitat for wading birds and numerous other animals as well as fulfilling a function of capturing and holding flood waters before they enter or re-enter a waterway. In many ways they are the kidneys of the natural environment.

Wetlands also play a significant role played by in reducing the impact of extreme weather events such as floods, droughts and cyclones.

  • In times of excess rainfall, wetlands act as a natural sponge, absorbing and storing water and reducing flood levels.
  • In dry times, they release stored water, delaying droughts and reducing water shortages.
  • Wetlands along a coastline provide a natural buffer against extreme weather events and can absorb much of the impact.
  • Well-managed wetlands can also speed up recovery and ensure communities are resilient and can bounce back better from disasters. They act as natural water filters and nutrient restorers.

Scientists estimate that at least 64 per cent of the world’s wetlands have disappeared since 1900. Meanwhile, the frequency of worldwide disasters has more than doubled in just 35 years, driven by climate- and weather- related hazards like flooding, cyclones and droughts.

And with the rate of extreme weather events predicted to keep on rising due to climate change, it is even more important that we protect our wetlands.

In Gippsland there are many ecologically and recreationally important wetlands, including two Ramsar-listed wetlands, The Gippsland Lakes and Corner Inlet.

West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority works with private landholders as well as community groups to help protect and enhance wetlands in the region.

Above: a look at the work of the Heyfield community to restore and manage the Heyfield Wetlands on the outskirts of town.

Below: a look at the work of Sale Field and Game and community volunteers to restore the Heart Morass a wetland adjacent to the Latrobe River.