Three sites in Western Australia nominated for listing as wetlands of significance under the international Convention on Wetlands - the Ramsar Convention - have been accepted.
Environment Minister Cheryl Edwardes today said the Government had been advised that the Ramsar Secretariat in Switzerland had accepted the Government’s nomination of the three sites along with additions to four existing Ramsar sites.
Listing the sites means Western Australia has more Ramsar Convention wetland sites than any other Australian State or Territory.
The new sites are the Becher Point wetlands near Rockingham, Lake Gore near Esperance and the Muir-Byenup complex east of Manjimup. The additions are to the Ord River Floodplain, the Peel-Yalgorup system, Toolibin Lake east of Narrogin and the Vasse-Wonnerup system near Busselton.
Mrs Edwardes said the Convention on Wetlands was an international treaty that promoted the conservation of wetlands of international significance and the wise use of wetlands generally. The convention was first adopted in 1971 at a meeting in Ramsar, Iran.
It currently lists 1038 sites throughout the world covering an area of more than 78 million hectares. Australia, one of the first signatories to the Convention, has 56 listed Ramsar wetlands, of which now 12 are in Western Australia.
The Department of Conservation and Land Management had prepared the nomination document with help from Wetlands International-Oceania. The Commonwealth Government provided almost $50,000 through the National Wetlands Program of the Natural Heritage Trust for the project.
Mrs Edwardes said the nominations were announced today to coincide with World Wetlands Day.
She said the State Government had been congratulated by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) for its role in putting forward the nominations. WWF acknowledged that WA was one of only two Australian States that had extended the number of wetland sites listed under Ramsar since the last convention meeting in May 1999.
“The State Government is taking up the challenge to implement sustainable wetland management through its Wetlands Policy released in 1997,” Mrs Edwardes said.
“The Government has demonstrated this by allocating an additional $250,000 a year to CALM for wetland conservation activities. As a result of our initiatives, WA now has more Ramsar-listed wetland sites than any other Australian State and Territory.
“We are committed to the conservation and restoration of wetlands, establishing wetland conservation reserves, maintaining wetland biodiversity, particularly the abundance of waterbirds, and to raising public awareness and enjoyment of the many values of wetlands.”
Becher Point is one of the youngest wetland systems on the Swan Coastal Plain, formed only in the past 4,500 years and have particular significance in terms of research interest in the evolution of wetlands.
Lake Gore is habitat for almost one-third of the world’s population of hooded plovers and 10 per cent of the global population of banded stilts. It also is a drought refuge for many thousands of other waterbirds.
The Muir-Byenup system includes numerous lakes and swamps and is a natural diversity recovery catchment under the State Salinity Strategy. It is habitat for tens of thousands of waterbirds - more than 51,000 individual birds have been recorded in a single survey - and has almost 650 species of native plants, many of them rare.
Media contact: Steve Manchee on 9421 7777