Judy Edwards

Judy Edwards

Former Minister for the Environment; Science

    WA hosts international salt lake research conference

    27/09/2005 12:00 AM
     
    27/09/05

    Environment and Science Minister Judy Edwards today welcomed 100 experts on salt lake research to Western Australia as part of the International Society for Salt Lake Research’s ninth conference.

    Dr Edwards said the conference involved more than 50 international delegates and the presentation of 60 papers on the importance of salt lakes in our landscapes.

    “WA is well-placed to host this important triennial conference, given the prevalence and importance of salt lakes in the State,” she said.

    “WA has an amazing number and range of natural salt lakes that contain fascinating and varied plant and animal life, including migratory waterbirds and a host of distinctive plant and animal species.

    “Many plants have evolved to grow on the dune systems that surround the salt lakes and when the lakes are dry, the lake beds support a unique array of terrestrial species.”

    The Minister said while naturally saline lakes had significant conservation values, secondary salinity, caused by rising groundwater in agricultural areas, was degrading wetland and terrestrial environments in the South-West.

    “Rising salinity adversely affects naturally saline lakes as well as freshwater lakes and it is important in tackling salinity that we ensure the conservation of our natural salt lakes,” she said.

    “In WA’s South-West, salt lakes have a range of important values, including flood mitigation, nutrient stripping, recreation, nature study and salt production.

    “Unfortunately, many salt lakes are threatened by increased drainage from farmland, the rise of secondary salinity and the loss of the specialised habitat they contain for native plants and animals.”

    Dr Edwards said the international conference would make a positive contribution to the conservation and management of salt lakes, as it would help raise awareness of the value and importance of these distinctive ecosystems.

    Minister's office: 9220 5050