Wetlands provide many ecological and landscape benefits. They are important for regulating gases and providing shade and shelter for species and providing cooler microclimates. Wetlands that retain water in the dry Australian landscape provide supporting habitat for many species, a role which will become more critical under projected increases in climate variability.
Wetlands and floodplains also provide a connected network throughout the landscape which facilitates the movement of species. The high diversity of plants and animals adapted to living in wetlands also provide biological control of pests in surrounding environments including farmland. Most wetlands are formed as depressions. In addition to retaining water they effectively improve the quality of water by filtering out contaminants. Wetlands can also play a major role in mitigating the impacts of flooding by retaining and then slowly releasing floodwaters.
Moreton Bay is recognised as an internationally significant wetland under the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (the Ramsar Convention). Moreton Bay Ramsar Site is one of Australia’s largest estuarine bays and includes the Pumicestone Passage and islands of Moreton (Mulgumpin), North Stradbroke (Minjerribah), South Stradbroke, Bribie and southern Moreton Bay Islands. The bay and the islands are made up of a diverse range of natural ecosystems, including the interface with the open ocean, sandy beaches, rocky shores, coral reefs, seagrass and sponge beds, mangrove forests, mudflats, and sandbanks.
Moreton Bay is one of Australia’s top 12 shorebird habitats. Thousands of migratory wader birds flock to roost each year between September and April. We need to maintain and expand on the extent of our wetlands in SEQ to enable a healthy functioning ecosystem and the liveability of the region.
Headline Target: Wetlands (NC3 & CM7)
By 2031, the 2008 extent and condition of SEQ wetlands will be maintained or increased and the condition and extent of SEQ coastal wetlands, particularly those connecting fresh and estuarine/marine habitat (including fish passage), will be equal to or greater than that in 2007.
CM 7 – Coastal wetlands
By 2031, the condition and extent of SEQ coastal wetlands, particularly those connecting fresh and estuarine/marine habitat (including fish passage), will be equal to or greater than that in 2007.
NC 3 – Wetlands
By 2031, the 2008 extent and condition of SEQ wetlands will be maintained or increased.
The 2016 NRM Plan Review found:
- There had been a loss of over 1,397 hectares (2014 analysis) of natural wetlands since 2001.
- There was concern regarding potential future losses of our wetlands due to land use change.