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Managing livestock grazing in wetlands

Livestock grazing is a common practice in wetlands on private land.

Resources are available to assist land managers in managing grazing in wetlands. The first describes how wetland ecosystems respond to livestock grazing. It identifies management practices that can reduce the negative impacts of grazing on wetlands. The second looks at the potential benefits and impacts of grazing in wetlands.

It also assists wetland managers in identifying grazing options that maintain or improve wetland vegetation conditions.

The Victorian Wetland Inventory

The Victorian Wetland Inventory is a spatial dataset containing around 38,000 wetlands. A major update to the inventory is currently underway. This update will incorporate new information about the location and attributes of Victoria’s wetlands.

The Victorian Wetland Inventory can be accessed via Data Vic.

Identifying wetland threats and values

A large amount of work is underway to understand the values of wetlands better and identify their threats. This includes the development of:

  • habitat distribution models for wetland dependent threatened species
  • spatial layers for evaluating wetland threats
  • spatial layer of wetland Ecological Vegetation Classes (EVCs).

A project is also underway to group Victoria’s 38,000 wetlands with similar attributes within a region to assist in management and investment decision-making.

Wetland hydrological monitoring

Work has been undertaken to improve our spatial knowledge of wetlands in Victoria. Understanding trends in how long and often wetlands retain water is important for their management. This study has shown a decreasing trend in water retention in Victorian wetlands during the last 30 years.

Additional research is now underway to identify the cause of these changes such as climate change or land use changes.

Victorian Wetland Ecological Vegetation Classes

The guide presents water regime and salinity ranges for the wetland Ecological Vegetation Classes (EVCs) that have been described in Victoria.

Water regime information includes the frequency of inundation, the maximum range of duration of waterlogging and inundation, and the maximum depth usually experienced by the EVC. The guide also includes the conservation status of the wetland EVCs in each Victorian bioregion.

This guide is designed for use by natural resource management (NRM) practitioners, environmental consultants, and researchers with expertise in NRM to inform wetland management on private and public land.

As well as outlining the natural water regimes of Victorian wetland EVCs, the document is intended to help inform decision-making and implementation of water deliveries for environmental outcomes.

Carbon sequestration in inland wetlands

A project managed by Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority and undertaken by Deakin University with funding from DELWP (now DEECA) examined the carbon sequestration capacity of Victoria's inland wetlands.

Carbon was measured in 103 wetlands, demonstrating that inland wetlands represent significant carbon sinks. The project report outlines methods and results and recommends approaches that may be used to maximise wetland carbon stocks and suggests future research projects.

Conceptual models for managing wetlands

A number of models have been developed to identify strategies and activities to reduce threats to wetlands.

Cropping in wetlands

Cropping has potential impacts on the condition and values of wetlands. A review of cropping and wetland values was undertaken to provide guidance for wetland management.

Managing invasive species in wetlands

Invasive plants and animals are one of the main threats to wetland values. The impact of rabbits, foxes, pigs and carp on wetlands is outlined in 4 flyers.

Seasonal Herbaceous Wetlands (freshwater) of the Temperate Lowland Plains are listed as a critically endangered ecological community under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Management of these wetlands for conservation or rehabilitation requires good location knowledge. A project was undertaken to improve knowledge of the distribution of these wetlands across Victoria.

Download model datasets from Data Vic.

Vegetation recovery in inland wetlands

The resources below provides a summary on vegetation recovery in Australian wetlands.

Decision Support Tool (DST) has been developed to assist wetland managers in rehabilitating wetlands

Vulnerability assessment and adaptation potential of coastal wetlands

This project investigated the vulnerability and adaptive capacity of coastal wetland systems in Victoria to the impacts of climate change, such as sea level rise, decreased freshwater inflows and increased frequency and severity of extreme events.

A decision support framework (DSF) was developed to identify management options and objectives and to help guide investment.

The framework has 2 volumes: volume one is a step-by-step guide on how to apply the DSF, volume 2 provides the technical information that supports the DSF.

Climate change and coastal wetlands decision support framework.

Wetlands and climate change

The range of impacts that climate change may have on wetlands is wide and varied. Climate change is predicted to alter patterns of rainfall, river flow, groundwater level and sea level and result in changes to other variables such as temperature and evaporation. These are all important drivers of wetland structure and function.

An assessment of the climate change vulnerability of Victoria’s wetlands with a particular emphasis on understanding the likely changes in hydrological regimes and the regional distribution of these changes across Victoria was undertaken to support the development of policy and strategic planning for wetlands.

Wetland connectivity

Connectivity broadly refers to the ability of plants and animals to move across the landscape and reach suitable habitats. This movement helps sustain wetland biodiversity by enabling species to colonise new habitats, escape adverse conditions, and recolonise sites after local extinctions.

An assessment of wetland habitat connectivity at the state-wide scale was undertaken to inform wetland policy development. Wetland connectivity can also identify sites where restoration activities will have flow-on-benefits to other wetlands through improved animals and plant dispersal.

More information and reports are available from the Arthur Rylah Institute.

Wetland Tender

Wetland Tender is a market-based instrument used in Victoria to assess and compare proposed works to improve the condition of wetlands on private land. It identifies projects that represent the best value for money while ensuring that the wetlands are in the best condition and supporting threatened species or vegetation communities get priority for funding.

The Wetland Tender Field Officer Manual was developed for use when implementing the method. The manual provides a guide to the key tasks associated with the role of the field officer, guidance on management of wetlands and the threats to wetland condition, and information on the relative improvement expected from one management action compared to another.

Page last updated: 10/10/23