What are wetlands? Do they need water in them all the time?
o Wetlands are ecosystems which develop in the landscape where water collects for some of the time, which alters the soils and unique water-tolerant and water dependent plants grow.
o The amount of water present in a wetland can vary greatly. Some wetlands are permanently flooded, while others are only seasonally flooded but retain saturated soils throughout much of the unflooded period. Still other wetlands may rarely flood, and dry for long periods.
o Seasonal or ephemeral wetlands like Winton Wetlands, dry and fill in a natural cycle following rainfall in the catchments of the creeks which feed the wetlands.
There are many different types of wetlands:
(From WetlandInfo, Qld Govt.)
Ephemeral wetlands, like Winton Wetlands, dry and fill in a natural cycle following rainfall in the catchments of the creeks which feed the wetlands.
The drying phase is very important to the wetland ecosystem which results in:
o organisms laying desiccation-resistant stages or eggs, or plants setting seeds as the water dried out;
o plants being stimulated to colonise the edge and the wetland bed; and
o nutrients being transformed and preparing the system for next refilling phase.
The filling phase is just as important:
o Rain events, even high in the catchment away from the wetlands, will sending pulses of water into our smaller wetlands (such as the Ashmeads Swamp, 7 Mile Creek Wetland and 11 Mile Creek Wetland, and others)
o After sustained, or repeated inflows, the smaller wetlands flow over into the larger wetlands of Boggy Bridge Swamp, Greens, Winton and Sergeant Swamps.
o The flooding results in the following important aspects:
o create new habitat for the wetland
o releases nutrients which stimulate the growth of aquatic flora and fauna
o eggs of zooplankton, water bugs and algal spores hatch,
o the boom of plants and animals creates great feeding opportunities for many bird and fish species.
o the filling wetlands also trigger native fish and waterbird breeding.
o It is a boom time for wetlands which allows a new cycle of life for many wetland creatures across the whole reserve. All you need is to “just add water”.