Our Latest News

Improved access to a World Heritage view

24/07/2017

An upgrade of the popular viewing platform on the shore of Lake St Clair has now been completed, improving disability access to one of the finest viewing points of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.More

Improved access to two of the North-west's natural wonders

24/07/2017

The North-west is home to some of Tasmania's most stunning natural attractions, and we are pleased to announce upgrades have now been completed at Trowutta Arch and Dip Falls.More

Overland Track bookings open with a rush

18/07/2017

Tasmania's iconic world-renowned bushwalks are a key driver behind the boom in visitor numbers to the state, and bookings for the Overland Track walking season have opened with a rush for the peak summer period.More

Tasmania's Wetlands

  • The Springlawn Wetlands at Narawntapu National Park
    (Photo by Joe Shemesh)

  • Tamar Island Wetlands
    (Photo by Joe Shemesh)

Wetlands are areas featuring permanent or temporary shallow open water. They include swamp marshes, creeks and even farm dams! Wetlands include saltwater environments such as saltmarshes and the intertidal zone of our coasts.

Tasmania has proportionally more wetlands for its size than any other Australian state.

Among the many rich wetland areas in Tasmania are Tamar River Conservation Area and Narawntapu National Park. Both have Visitor Centres that provide details of the wetlands that these reserves protect.

Moulting Lagoon Game Reserve on the east coast is a large, internationally recognised wetland on the east coast of Tasmania and is an important breeding ground for various waterfowl and wetland birds, and also a destination for migratory birds.

 

Wetlands are important

Wetlands act as “kidneys” for the land, trapping substances and contaminants that would otherwise reach the water. If waterways become polluted then we need to use complex and expensive mechanisms to clean the water for drinking.

Provide homes

Wetlands are an important habitat for many of ournative animals and plants. Waterfowl such as Pacific black ducks, white-faced herons and grebes rely on wetlands as places to feed and breed. Our rivers and lakes are an important habitat for native galaxiid fish. Ten of our 15 species are endemic to Tasmania - that is, they only occur here.

The uniquely Australian platypus lives in many of Tasmania’s wetland environments. This egg-laying mammal makes a burrow just above the water level where it rests during the day. At dawn and dusk it may be seen feeding on small aquatic invertebrates such as caddisfly larvae.

Economic value

Properly managing wetlands adds both scenic and real estate value to your property. Retaining native vegetation around dams or along creek banks not only improves the look of your wetland area but, also saves you money and work in the long term. This is because native vegetation acts as a buffer, reducing water contamination and soil erosion. It also prevents weeds, such as gorse and blackberries, from invading and spreading into surrounding paddocks, effecting productivity. Native vegetation provides homes for many nativebirds which can significantly reduce agricultural pests.

Tasmania's variety of wetlands

Tasmania’s varied topography and rainfall has meant that the State has developed a wide range of wetland types.

Alpine wetlands occur in the highland regions of the Tasmania where multiple glaciations that have left thousands of lakes and small tarns. Rare wetland types such as sphagnum bogs, string bogs and staircase ponds, formed from the remains of bolster heaths, can be found in these areas.

Tasmania’s west and south west contain large areas of buttongrass moorland. These distinctive vegetation communities are based on peat soils. These peat soils form some of the most extensive blanket bogs (peatlands that cover undulating terrain) in the southern hemisphere.

Tasmania also has numerous coastal lagoons and estuaries that are especially rich in plant and animal life, as well as inland saline wetlands in the driest parts of the Midlands, near Cape Portland in the north-east, and in the Furneaux Group.

Freshwater wetlands in Tasmania include the swamp forests in the north-west and King Island, and the deep permanent freshwater marshes on the west coast and King Island.

In the north west, extensive swamplands have developed on karstic depressions, such as sinkholes or dolines (depressions draining underground into karst). Poljes are large karstic depressions up to several kilometres across. Poljes at Mole Creek and Dismal Swamp are the best-developed in Australia. These subterranean wetlands support a diverse fauna that is often distinct from that of surface waters.

What are Ramsar sites?

The Ramsar Convention is an international convention on wetlands. It takes its name from the Convention on Wetlands, signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971. The Convention provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.

For the purposes of this Convention the following definition of wetlands has been adopted:

…wetlands are areas of marsh, fen, peatland or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six metres.

There are ten Ramsar sites listed in Tasmania as wetlands of international significance:

  1. Moulting Lagoon
  2. Logan Lagoon Conservation Area
  3. Lavinia Nature Reserve
  4. Pittwater - Orielton Lagoon [PDF 4.1 Mb]
  5. Apsley Marshes
  6. East - Coast Cape Barren Island Lagoons
  7. Flood Plain Lower Ringarooma River
  8. Jocks Lagoon
  9. Interlaken
  10. Little Waterhouse Lake

Threats to wetlands

There are many threats to wetlands including:

  • drainage and other alterations to natural water regimes
  • pollution from activities in catchments
  • inappropriate urban developments
  • forest practices
  • agriculture and mining
  • physical damage from recreational activities such as vehicle use
  • the introduction of plant and animal pest species
  • diseases
  • trampling by livestock.

Further Information

Wetlands - DPIWE
The Department of Primary Industries and Water provides a range of information on wetlands in Tasmania.