World Wetlands Day 2019 – 2 February

‘Wetlands and Climate Change’ is the theme of this year’s World Wetlands day, celebrated on Saturday 2 February.

The theme draws attention to the vital role of wetlands as a natural solution to cope with climate change.

Wetlands are the world’s most valuable ecosystems. They play a pivotal role in reaching global policies on climate change, sustainable development, biodiversity and disaster risk reduction.

Wetland reserves efficiently reduce the effects of climate change by absorbing and storing carbon, reducing flood effects, and providing relief from droughts and reduction of storm surges.

Wetlands support native species by providing excellent habitation for living and breeding, which leads to a range of positive environmental effects.

Alongside the monumental environmental benefits that wetlands provide, they also play an important role in tourism and the cultural and spiritual well-being of people.

At Winton Wetlands, our team of staff and volunteers and the Friends of Winton Wetlands are leading one of the world’s most significant renewal projects.

The Winton Wetlands project aims to:

  • restore the ecology of the swamps and ancient dunes
  • enable traditional owners to connect or reconnect with the site
  • attract tourists and help reconnect and immerse people with the natural world
  • demonstrate how primary production and ecological restoration can work together
  • provide an invaluable education resource and study site.

The higher the level of restoration of Winton Wetlands, the larger contribution the wetlands can return to the environment and the regional population.

Through the restoration and conservation of ecosystems like Winton Wetlands we provide a brighter future to the people of today and those to come after us.

Find out more about World Wetlands Day at WorldWetlandsDay.org

World Wetlands Day 2019

 

These Drying Times

In these drying times it can be difficult to see that wetland sites, like Winton Wetlands, provide vital, productive environments.

Cradling biological diversity, the wetlands provide the perfect setting for countless species of plants and animals to survive and thrive. Drying wetlands are a natural phenomenon. In fact, in those wetlands that do regularly dry out, it is an essential process. Australian wetlands have evolved to exploit the boom and bust of our seasons.

Drying also ensures the wetlands spring back into life at the next filling event by:

  • supporting large numbers of water birds
  • allowing the nutrients that have built up in the wet phase to be processed and reduced
  • guaranteeing the mudflat plants to sprout and become established on the floor of the wetlands, binding the soil
  • providing habitat for many animals and insects, including water bugs (invertebrates) who lay dormant eggs in preparation for the next wet.

But it is what happens below the surface that goes unnoticed.

“Winton Wetlands currently has water held in the Mokoan Ponds along the Dam Wall, which are supporting many water plants, water birds, fish and yabbies all year ’round” said Lance Lloyd, Aquatic Ecologist at Winton Wetlands.

Under the water, the native fish are growing with the warm conditions and the waterbirds are feeding on the yabbies, invertebrates and water plants. Small mammals and reptiles are flourishing under the grass cover – feeding and growing, out of the hot sun, and the insects are burrowing and aerating the soil, creating a balanced and diverse ecosystem.

“Wetlands are biological supermarkets, providing great volumes of food for many animal species. These animals use places like Winton Wetlands in their life-cycles.”

“Plant leaves and stems breakdown as water subsides, creating small particles of organic material called detritus. This enriched material feeds waterbugs, shellfish and small fish that are food for larger predatory fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals”

During this dry period, Winton Wetlands are:

  • unwavering in their efforts to reduce European Carp populations
  • revegetating the wetlands to replace the woodlands, grasslands and reed beds to provide shade and habitat
  • undertaking works on the wetlands that we can only do in the dry, like managing drainage and maintaining tracks and
  • preparing the site for when the next wet period arrives

Wetlands also provide a blend of shallow water, high levels of nutrients and primary productivity – ideal for the development of organisms that form the base of the food web and carbon cycle.

“Wetlands store carbon within their plant communities and soil instead of releasing it to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Thus, wetlands help to moderate global climate conditions.”

Functioning as natural sponges, wetlands trap and slowly release surface water, rain and flood waters. Trees, root mats and other wetland vegetation also slow the speed of flood waters and distribute them more slowly over the wetlands. This combined water storage and braking action reduces erosion and lowers flood heights, albeit hard to imagine significant and prolonged rainfall in current conditions.

Image: Lesley Ricker

One giant leap…

An important aspect of the restoration of Winton Wetlands is the re-establishment of native species local to the Wetlands. The availability of hollows as shelter and nesting sites for threatened tree-dwelling mammal species is vital to their persistence and movement through the landscape.

Through the ‘That’s One Giant Leap’ project, funded by the Victorian State Government, the Friends of Winton Wetlands have been able to involve the community in very meaningful and innovative restoration activities at Winton Wetlands. Since 2014, over 100 nest boxes have been installed to provide supplementary habitat for tree-dwelling mammals, including the Squirrel Glider (Petaurus norfolcensis) and the Brush-tailed Phascogale (Phascogale tapoatafa.)

Since then, various activity of a range of species has been recorded within the nest boxes demonstrating the success of the project. Winton Wetlands and the Friends of Winton Wetlands are most pleased to confirm the recorded sighting of one of the two targeted species being the Squirrel Glider.

“Finding a Squirrel Glider using our nest boxes is the highlight of the Friends four-year nest box program so far. This and finding several families of young Yellow-footed Antechinus in an area previously populated with poor nesting hollows, provides the incentive to continue the program. We hope to extend the chain of nest boxes to continue encouraging wildlife to utilise the entire Wetlands and to create links to nearby woodland.  Well done to all those who have participated in construction, installation and monitoring,” said Geoff Barrow, Friends of Winton Wetlands volunteer and nest box monitoring manager.

Not only is this the first record of a Squirrel Glider since the onset of the project but also the first ever recorded sighting at the Winton Wetlands site, marking it as a very exciting and special event.

The 2019 Friends of Winton Wetlands membership applications are now open and available instore at the Mokoan Hub & Café.

 

Fish hotels – Need a place to put your fins up?

Media Release: 13 December 2018

In restoring Winton Wetlands, we need to provide habitat for plants and animals that has previously been lost. In the long term, new vegetation will provide a range of vital habitats for fish and other organisms. However, establishing vegetation which will then provide woody debris to the ecosystem is a lengthy process.

Fish hotels at Winton Wetlands

The Winton Wetlands Committee of Management together with the Friends of Winton Wetlands are creating ‘fish hotels’ as a quick way to restore aquatic habitat for our threatened fish species, including the iconic Murray Cod.

Two types of fish hotels are being used:

  • Hollow logs – sustainably sourced from road and pipeline clearance projects.
  • Constructed fish hotels – made from smaller logs and locally sourced from fallen timber.

Wood surfaces attract food for fish

“The surfaces of the wood provide an excellent place for algae and other biofilms to grow, attracting shrimp and other crustaceans which are a major food source for fish. Further, Murray Cod and other fish love to use the surfaces of the wood to lay their eggs,” said Lance Lloyd, Restoration Scientist at Winton Wetlands.

“These fish hotels will provide great fish habitat and allow aquatic species, including the threatened Murray Cod, to survive”.

Follow our journey on Facebook

 

Fish hotels waiting to be installed at the Duck Pond - Image by Lance Lloyd
Fish hotels waiting to be installed at the Duck Pond – Image by Lance Lloyd

Mokoan Hub & Café holiday hours

If you are planning a visit to the Wetlands over the holiday period, please note the opening hours for Mokoan Hub & Café:

24/12 …..Open 9 am – 2 pm
25/12 …CLOSED Christmas Day
26/12 …CLOSED Boxing Day
27/12 …..Open 9 am – 4 pm
28/12 …..Open 9 am – 4 pm
29/12 …..Open 9 am – 4 pm
30/12 …..Open 9 am – 4 pm
31/12 …..Open 9 am – 2 pm
01/01 …CLOSED New Year’s Day
02/01 …..Open 9 am – 4 pm
03/01 …..Open 9 am – 4 pm

Read more about Mokoan Hub & Café

Growling Grass Frog – will we hear them growl again?

30 November 2018

Frogs are a vital part of our ecosystem and are great indicators of the success of our restoration efforts. Frogs add to our biodiversity and are an important part of the food chain for birds, snakes and fish.

“One species that has been lost from our site and also regionally is the Growling Grass Frog (Litoria raniformis), and we are looking into how we can reintroduce the species back to the reserve,” said Dr Lisa Farnsworth, Restoration Ecologist at Winton Wetlands.

In a project supported by the Wettenhall Environment Trust, Winton Wetlands staff and volunteers are embarking on an innovative plan that aims to re-establish the charismatic Growling Grass Frogs on the reserve. Key project activities include:

  • Monitoring frog calls (collected by citizen scientists) through acoustic recording, to remotely identify species.
  • Researching the feasibility of reintroducing the species including testing for appropriate water quality, water temperature and vegetation cover
  • Habitat enhancement appropriate to the species requirements
  • Analysis to determine the extent of chytrid fungus on the reserve (an infectious disease that affects amphibians worldwide)

“We are improving frog habitat through revegetation and the addition of rocks to allow Growling Grass Frogs to bask in the sun and to limit the spread of chytrid fungus”.

Follow our journey on Facebook

Why did the turtle cross the road?

Tuesday 23 October

Winton Wetlands is fortunate to play host to some interesting ‘heroes in half-shells’ including the Eastern Long-necked turtle (Chelodina longicollis) and Murray River turtle (Emydura macquarii). Turtles love to use the edges of the Wetland’s swamps for laying eggs and are known to travel between expanses of water which provide their food resources.

“We are seeing turtles almost on a daily basis at the moment around the Wetlands”, said Lance Lloyd, Restoration Scientist at Winton Wetlands.

“We’ve seen an abundance of turtles crossing Lake Mokoan Road and they’ve even been visiting the Mokoan Hub and Café and our glamping site near the boat ramp”.

These four-legged friends contribute to the diversity of fauna represented at the Wetlands and are the subject of ongoing restoration and monitoring, including that being conducted by the Friends of Winton Wetlands who use an online mapping database, TurtleSAT, to log their findings.

Fingers are tightly crossed in the hope of finding the locally-extinct Broad-shelled turtle (Chelodina expansa), but the focus is on conservation efforts across all species.

For visitors to the area and beyond, there are a few ways to help your local turtle populations, including recording sightings using databases like TurtleSAT and lending a helping hand to turtles taking the treacherous journey across roadways.

Turtles travel to seek out healthy habitats, food and water. Keep the following tips in mind if you see a turtle crossing the road:

  • Be cautious of your own safety by checking where you stop your car and being aware of other vehicles travelling on the roadway
  • Take a quiet, low and slow approach towards the turtle to prevent distress
  • Pick the turtle up firmly by the shell edges, keeping it low to the ground
  • Move the turtle off the road making sure to keep it facing the way it was walking to continue on its travels!

Media Contact: Tanya McAlpin
03 5766 4462, 0414 266 960
tanya.mcalpin@wintonwetlands.org.au

Calendar Art Competition

$100 vouchers up for grabs, as well as the chance to have the artwork featured in the 2019 Winton Wetlands calendar
Simply enter the Winton Wetlands Calendar Art Competition

Twelve winners will be chosen based on their merit and creativity by the Winton Wetlands Calendar Competition Committee. These winning artworks will be featured in the 2019 Winton Wetland Calendar, with all funds raised from the sale of the calendar going to the Friends of Winton Wetlands restoration work.

This competition is open to children of primary school age and living in Australia.

Competition closing date: 5pm, Monday 12 November 2018

The Competition Committee is looking for bright colours, creativity, good technical skills, use of space and a good story to accompany the submission. Each winning artist will receive a $100 voucher.


Image: Henley Public School 2018 Calendar

Competition Requirements

Entrants must provide their full name, age, school name and grade and a parent/guardian’s contact phone number.
Artwork should be landscape, A4 size and accompanied by 25 words or less addressing one of the themes mentioned below:

  • Birds – The rare Regent Honeyeater is among the nearly 200 bird species identified across our diverse ecosystems.
  • Wildlife – Our site is perfect for encountering kangaroos, echidnas and even tiny antechinus.
  • Pest Animals – Winton Wetlands is unfortunately home to some pest species whose effect is damaging to our restoration efforts.
  • Insects – Important to our food webs and ongoing regeneration, insects are also vital to growth and balance.
  • Habitat – Native plants and a healthy environment provide safe homes for our birds and wildlife.
  • Threatened/Endangered Species – Winton Wetlands is home to 11 nationally listed endangered species.

Mail Submission

Artwork no smaller than A4 can be sent via post or be delivered in person to:
Winton Wetlands – Calendar Art Competition
652 Lake Mokoan Road
Chesney Vale VIC 3725

E-Submission

Artwork can also be submitted electronically to info@wintonwetlands.org.auand should be at high resolution (suggested 300dpi), landscape, A4 size, bright and clear. The original image must be available to be sent if required by the Competition Committee.

________________________________
At Winton Wetlands we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We recommend confirming times, dates and details directly before making any plans as details may be subject to change.

TERMS & CONDITIONS
The promoter is Winton Wetlands, ABN 53 224 268 294
The promotion commences at 9am on Monday 15 October and closes at 5pm on Monday 12 November 2018.
The competition is open to primary school children who are residents of Australia.
Permission of a parent or a guardian to enter the competition is required as the winning images will be featured in the 2019 Winton Wetlands calendar, on the Winton Wetlands website, facebook page and in any other Winton Wetlands marketing material.
Employees of Winton Wetlands or their family members are not permitted to enter the competition.
Any entries received after the closing date will not be eligible to enter the competition.
Entrants can only submit 1 entry into the competition.
The total value of all 12 prizes is $1200. This consists of 12 x $100 vouchers.
The competition winners will be chosen by the Winton Wetlands Calendar Competition Committee and all winners will be notified by either email or phone call by Friday 23 November 2018.
If the winners cannot be contacted or do not claim their prize within 14 days of notification, we reserve the right to withdraw the prize from the winner and pick a replacement winner.
Winton Wetlands reserves the right to cancel or amend the competition and these terms and conditions without notice.
Winton Wetlands will only use any personal details for administration of the competition.

Cherry Blossom tours

Cherrybrook Cherry Farm is famous for its delicious cherries, but prior to fruiting the trees present a stunning display of cherry blossoms for just three weeks in September.

Blossom time at Cherrybrook coincides with the spectacular display of wildflowers that change the scenery at Winton Wetlands, including wattles, peas and lilies.

Tour details

This day tour is perfect for groups and includes:

Cherrybrook Cherry Farm

  • Morning Tea at Cherrybrook Cherry Farm
  • Tour and talk with photo opportunities

Winton Wetlands

Winton Wetlands and Cherrybrook Cherry Farm have linked two of the season’s most beautiful marvels to create a spectacle

Cost: $30 per person

How to book

The tour is available for groups. Minimum 10 people please.

Contact us for availability and to book your tour.

Phone on 03 5766 4462

Email info@wintonwetlands.com.au

Find out more about Cherrybrook Cherry Farm

 

 

 

 

Winton Wetlands ‘Pick My Project’

Voting is now open for the Victorian State Government’s Pick My Project initiative.

Winton Wetlands has two projects in the mix for this funding round and your vote counts!

Click on the links below to register and cast your vote.

Vote for ‘Nangarna Play Space’

Nangarna Play Space is an all-abilities, nature-based playground influenced by our environment and Indigenous history.

https://bit.ly/2OvJkxX

Playground space


Vote for ‘Outfoxing Our Foxes’

Outfoxing Our Foxes – Safe-guarding the wonders of our wetlands: Reducing fox abundance using innovative technology.

https://bit.ly/2w3sHCj

Fox at Winton Wetlands photo by Matt Devine