The Glenelg Hopkins region supports 44 per cent of Victoria’s total wetland area and this doesn’t even include the many meadows and marshes—mostly freshwater—that have been erased historically or are modified beyond being able to provide functional ecosystem services.
In the north of the region around the southern Grampians there are several wetlands that act as important wildlife sanctuaries and natural filters, improving water quality as water gathers and moves through the landscape.
Trust for Nature is currently working with Nature Glenelg Trust, the new owners of two large wetlands to develop management plans and covenants for the wetlands.
These actions would protect habitat for two key threatened species; the Brolga and the Growling Grass Frog. It’s estimated there are just 1,000 Brolgas in New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria due to habitat loss and wetland drainage. Growling Grass Frogs are one of the largest frogs in Australia and their numbers have declined by 50 per cent in the last 10 years due to a fungal disease, habitat degradation, water pollution and predation by introduced fish species.
Significant in the region is the 420 ha Walker Swamp, near Dunkeld. It is an extensive and complex system of inter connecting swamps and wetlands that drain the Wannon River onto the plains where the river emerges from the escarpment in the southeast of the Grampians. It comprises four wetland vegetation classes, and all are listed as endangered or vulnerable reflecting the historic and ongoing threats to freshwater wetlands in this valuable agricultural and pastoral district. Walker Swamp was drained in the 1950s for agriculture, followed by forestry years later.
Nature Glenelg Trust has recently undertaken a range of works to restore natural function to the wetland complex. Rehabilitating this environment will help the wetland function as much as possible. It is intended that this site will also be protected with a conservation covenant.
The Nature Glenelg Trust is working with the Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority and Trust for Nature to reverse historical drainage and protect the swamps forever.
The Victorian Government’s Our Catchments Our Communities and climate change initiatives are supporting this work and the protection of other wetlands in the region.
For more information about projects in the Glenelg-Hopkins region contact Adam Merrick (03) 8631 5888 or firstname.lastname@example.org