World Wetlands Day marks the date of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (the Ramsar Convention)  on 2 February 1971 in Ramsar, Iran.

This year, the international theme of World Wetlands Day is ‘wetlands and climate change’, raising awareness of the impacts of climate change and the important role wetlands play in allowing us to prepare for cope with, and recover from the impacts of climate change.

Victoria's wetlands

Victoria has 12 Ramsar listed wetlands which means we have some of the best wetlands in the world.

  • Traditional Owners and Aboriginal people have used wetlands over many tens of thousands of years and they are an important part of Aboriginal cultural heritage.
  • Victoria has over 37,000 wetlands with two-thirds of these being natural. Of these natural wetlands two-thirds are located on private property.  
  • They support 499 (24%) of Victoria’s threatened native species.
  • Wetlands act as sediment traps and filter nutrients from catchments. This helps protect the water quality of rivers, estuaries and marine areas.
  • They provide habitat for native plants and animals and many wetlands provide refuge in periods of drought.
  • Wetlands reduce the impacts of flooding by holding and slowing floodwater.
  • Wetlands provide a range of recreational opportunities such as boating, fishing and bird watching which help to support tourism and local economies.
  • Victoria’s alpine peatlands and coastal wetlands store high amounts carbon.
  • Vegetation in coastal wetlands, such as mangroves, protect communities from storm surges that erode coastlines and damage property.

The Victorian Government plays an important role in protecting and managing Victoria's wetlands and the values they support. A record $222 million over four years has been invested to improve the health of our waterways and catchments, as set out in Water for Victoria and the Victorian Waterway Management Strategy. This includes undertaking research to inform policy and best practice wetland management, monitoring trends in wetland condition, and assessing the effectiveness of management interventions.

World Wetlands Day events

More information

Find out more about Australian wetlands

Photo: Kerang Wetlands, credit: Genevieve Smith

Page last updated: 01/02/19