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Regional Victoria in frontlines of global battle

Benalla Ensign – 2 February 2022

Photo: Impressive: A Drone shot of Winton Wetlands

Regional Victoria is shaping up as one of the frontlines in a global battle to save and restore wetland ecosystems in 2022 and beyond.

As part of that Winton Wetlands is entering a critical new phase of projects to save native turtle populations, bring back native frogs, previously lost to the area, and to provide a place for conservation-listed native birds to flourish.

These projects link to broader goals, which aim to save and restore wetland habitats for a much wider range of animal, bird and plant species.

On the occasion of World Wetlands Day — which is today, Wednesday, February 2 — Winton Wetlands is putting out a call to scientists and land managers to to scientists and land managers to participate in an important Science Forum to be held on site next month over two full days, 1-2 March.

The planned Science Forum will support one of the key goals of World Wetlands Day, which is a “call to action for people and nature” – urging people and governments to work together for practical solutions and serious commitments of people and finance to make them work.

Restoration scientist Lance Lloyd said the forum would provide a rare opportunity for wetland scientists and land and ecosystem managers involved or interested in vital restoration work to come together, share the lessons of projects under way in various locations, problem-solve, and map out practical paths forward.

“The activities we are starting here on-site to conserve native turtle populations, and to bring back the growling grass frog — an iconic native species — are centrepieces for a broader range of efforts we’re making to help make Winton Wetlands a global showcase for wetland restoration,” Mr Lance Lloyd said.

“We hope and expect 2022 will mark a critical turning point for the better.”

Mr Lloyd stressed the long-term nature of the work under way and the need for consistent application of resources and effort over many years in many different locations, including Winton Wetlands.

“There are no quick-fixes, and our Science Forum seeks to acknowledge this by bringing experts together from different organisations and locations in a spirit of long-term collaborative problem-solving,” he said.

“Knowledge-building and sharing will be more critical than ever over the next few years.

“At Winton Wetlands we’re doing what we can to help facilitate that.”

An important local activity happening on-site on World Wetlands Day is a bird population count being conducted at various locations by a team of volunteers from Bird Life Murray Goulburn.

Several counts are held each year, with recent ones showing healthy trends in total numbers and diversity of species.

This week will mark the start of the 10th year of counting.

Organisers hope this count will provide a good indication of whether the healthier population trends observed during the past year are continuing.

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PDF copy of Media Release

Posted 2 February 2022