TODAY, February 2 marks a significant day to celebrate World Wetlands Day.
World Wetlands Day was adapted as part of the Ramsar Wetlands Convention held in the Iranian City of Ramsar, on February 2, 1971.
This intergovernmental treaty established the framework for national and international collaboration developing the mission for "conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world. “
The large diversity of wetlands included in the Ramsar Convention comprising of both permanent and ephemeral freshwater systems such as rivers, lakes and marshes, marine estuaries, tidal flats and deltas. Human-made sites were also incorporated into this agreement.
Australia, one of the first countries to sign the Ramsar Convention, delegated the Cobourg Peninsula in the Northern Territory as the world’s first Wetland of International Importance.
Currently Australia has 64 listed Ramsar sites, which consist of an area around 8.1 million hectares, covering all types of climatic zones. The Macquarie Marshes in western NSW (18,726 ha), Coongie Lakes in South Australia (980,000ha), and the Gippsland Lakes in Victoria are just some of the Australian Ramsar sites.
Orange has four constructed wetlands surrounding the city, which are part of the stormwater harvesting scheme.
Ploughman’s, Escort, Somerset and Brooklands wetlands all play a vital role in the collection and treatment of stormwater. The installation of gross pollution traps, positioned at the commencement of the wetland, permits the removal of large items of debris such as rubbish or vegetation before stormwater flows into the first pond.
Planting various aquatic plant species around these ponds absorbs any nutrients entering the system and provides an opportunity for sediment to settle from the waters flow. The quality of water improves as it moves through the system due to the presence of these aquatic plant species.
The beneficial aspect of these wetlands is the establishment of habitat and food source for a diverse range of native species, educational and community engagement opportunities, water quality improvement and recreational activities such as bird watching.
To celebrate World Wetlands Day, Orange City Council is inviting community members to participate in three wetland events:
n Sunday, February 3, a wetland walk and talk will take place at Ploughmans Wetland, on the corner of Cargo Road and Ploughman’s Lane, from 9am to 11am. This educational activity will provide information on how constructed wetlands function, the ecological benefits, the advantages of these environmental sites in urban areas and future stormwater harvesting.
n Tuesday, February 5, Bill’s Bush Tours will visit the four constructed wetlands within Orange. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about the different aquatic plant species that provide habitat and a food source for native birds. The bus will leave the Orange Visitors Information Centre at 11am returning at 2pm. A BBQ lunch is provided as part of the day. Bookings can be made by ring Bill Josh on 0428 386 549.
n Wednesday, February 6, a Community Activity Day will be held at Brooklands Wetland from 10am to 1pm with a barbecue lunch provided ( more information below).
Orange City Council encourages you to come out and celebrate “World Wetlands Day” and learn about the importance of these environmental ecosystems, benefits of stormwater harvesting and conserving water.
For further enquiries please contact Maryanne Smith, Orange City Council Wetlands Team Leader on 0457 586 080.
Wetlands community day
Parks Alive, an initiative of Orange City Council and Conservation Volunteers Australia will run a volunteer community day at Brooklands Wetlands on Wednesday, February 6. The day will focus on mulching native garden beds planted on National Tree Day 2012.
With the assistance of local community volunteers the beds will be mulched to assist with weed control and moisture retention.
Everyone is welcome, so come along, share your ideas and knowledge; meet new people, help the environment and help make Orange’s Parks and Open Spaces Come Alive.
Date: Wednesday 6 February 2013.
Where: Brooklands Wetland, off Robinson Court and/or Callistemon Place.
Time: 10am - 1pm with a barbecue lunch.
RSVP: Bill Josh on 0428 386 549 or just turn up on the day.