Processes Impacting on Lake Macquarie

Wetlands Work
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In the past, attitudes towards wetlands have gone against the concept of ‘nature knows best’. Wetlands and saltmarsh areas were commonly ‘filled-in’ and destroyed in the quest for a neat and tidy foreshore, or used as the site for sporting fields and other developments. A common question that I am asked is ‘why are we now trying to protect wetlands?’

Attitudes world-wide are now shifting and the importance of wetlands to the ecosystem of water bodies is being recognised. In fact, here in Lake Macquarie, The Office of the Lake Macquarie & Catchment Coordinator now commits funds to construct wetlands as they effectively mimic natural wetlands’ in protecting water quality.

Wetlands, apart from being rich in biodiversity, perform a similar role for the Lake as the kidney does for the human body, filtering out sediments, nutrients and other contaminants and preventing them from entering the Lake.

A recent study in Lake Macquarie found that wetland areas in the region are being lost at an alarming rate.

Banksia Environmental Consulting conducted a monitoring program of 30 Lake Macquarie wetlands and compared the findings with a similar survey completed in 1998. Almost 70% of the natural wetlands were found to have reduced in size over the five years.

The Office of the Lake Macquarie & Catchment Coordinator is taking action to protect wetlands and will spend $240,000 over the next 15 months to repair natural wetlands in the Lake catchment area. The money will be spent on target weeding, planting and bush regeneration, along with rubbish removal, fencing and signage.

The other good news is that we can all help to protect our valuable wetlands. The study found the activities causing most damage were, in most cases, entirely preventable. The major causes are activities such as slashing or mowing, vehicle access into sensitive areas, land clearing, weed infestation and altered hydrology.

The works program will integrate with the ongoing efforts of Landcare groups to improve selected wetlands.

In this case, ‘nature does know best’ and the protection of wetlands will ensure a healthier Lake Macquarie for future generations.

 

Editiorials
Channel Challenges
Channel & Water Quality
Constant Change
Seagrass
Seawalls
Threats to the Lake
Vegetated Swales
Water Sensitive Urban Design
Wetlands
Wrack & Ruin
Introduction