Wetland hits key milestone

Catherine MasseyBusselton Dunsborough Times
The Vasse-Wonnerup wetland system supports one per cent of the South East Asia-Australiasia population of Black-winged Stilt.
Camera IconThe Vasse-Wonnerup wetland system supports one per cent of the South East Asia-Australiasia population of Black-winged Stilt. Credit: Mark Oliver/Mark Oliver

The Vasse-Wonnerup wetland system this year reached its 30th anniversary as a recognised wetland of international importance.

The valuable wetland has enjoyed 30 years protection under the Ramsar Convention, which has enabled its diversity and sustainability to be nurtured and conserved.

Conservation group GeoCatch chair Felicity Bradshaw said it was a significant milestone for the community.

“This is an opportunity for us as a community to reflect on the global, as well as local and cultural, value of the wetland system and the critical habitat it provides,” she said.

The Vasse-Wonnerup wetland boasts a huge number of waterbirds from all over the world — a driving factor behind its nomination for the convention in 1990.

More than 30,000 migratory and resident birds, of more than 90 species, are housed in the critical wetland habitat every year.

The wetland also plays host to the biggest black swan breeding colony in WA.

“To think that birds come here every summer from the other side of the world ... it’s incredible,” Ms Bradshaw said.

The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is an intergovernmental treaty providing a framework for national action and international co-operation to conserve and wisely use wetlands and their resources.

Recognition under the convention requires a wetland to meet one of nine criteria, with the Vasse-Wonnerup wetland satisfying two — regularly supporting 20,000 or more waterbirds, and regularly supporting one per cent of individuals of a population of bird species. To help preserve the wetland, the Capes community is urged to reduce fertiliser use, keep pets out of wetland areas, and stick to designated paths.

More information can be found through Geocatch’s Vasse-Wonnerup webinars on YouTube.

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