Healthy Land and Water team members Georgia Glidden and Isobel Gordon during a site visit.
The Ramsar Wetland Weed Eradication project at Hays Inlet aims to improve the ecological functioning of the conservation area, a mosaic wetland of saltmarsh, mangroves, intertidal wetlands and buffering open forest and woodland.
Working with local community and the Redcliffe Environmental Forum, the project involves the manual and mechanical removal of weeds across ten hectares of Hays Inlet, an area heavily infested with weeds competing with saltmarsh for space and sunlight.
Saltmarshes are important intertidal wetland plant communities made up of succulents, grasses, low shrubs and saltpans that experience periodic or occasional tidal flooding.
The removal of the weeds at Hays Inlet, including Broad Leaf Pepper Tree (Schinus terebinthifolius), Groundsel Bush (Baccharis halimifolia) and Lantana (Lantana camara), will increase the health of the saltmarsh and its capacity to adapt to threats imposed by urban development, population growth and climate change.
Improving the health of the Moreton Bay Ramsar Site
Saltmarsh communities are key components of the landscape and provide invaluable ecosystem services. This includes protection from storm surge, filtering nutrients and sediment before it makes it way to Moreton Bay and contributing to the productivity of fisheries.
Clean water means more fish, marine life and healthier coastal areas for us all to enjoy.
The removal of these weeds from Hays Inlet will also support populations of endemic species. It will also enhance feeding and roosting sites for resident and migratory shorebirds as well as habitat for the nationally threatened water mouse, often called the false water-rat (Xeromys myoides).
Hays Inlet is within the Moreton Bay Marine Park at Clontarf, which is located in the Moreton Bay Ramsar site.
Extending from the foreshores of Brisbane, Moreton Bay is internationally recognised as a Ramsar Wetland for its biodiversity and ecological significance. The Moreton Bay Ramsar site supports more than 50,000 wetland birds, including 28 species of migratory birds that travel from around the world to feed and roost.
Over the past five years, the Redcliffe Environmental Forum has conducted quarterly bird surveys in the area. During that time 131 bird species have been observed and identified including the Bar-tailed Godwit, the Marsh Sandpiper and the endangered Eastern Curlew.
Saltmarsh communities in South East Queensland are protected under the Queensland legislation through the Fisheries Act 1994 and are Federally listed as a vulnerable ecological community under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
The project is already showing promising results
The presence of target weed species within the project area at Hays Inlet has been significantly reduced from a total of 40% to a total of 5%. Works will continue over three years to ensure the invasive weeds are kept at bay and to support the recovery of the local ecosystem.
This project is supported by Healthy Land and Water, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare program.