Unknown lagoon discovered in wetland survey

A previously unrecorded lagoon has been added to the list of New England-Monaro’s unique wetlands – an unexpected legacy of a four-year conservation program.

The 7ha lagoon, on private farmland near Glen Innes, was included in a regional survey of some of the 59 Upland Wetlands which are listed as Endangered Ecological Communities.

The survey was part of the nationally funded Regional Land Partnerships program aimed to highlight the importance of the lagoons, to promote their value and improve their management.

Most of the lagoons, known as Upland Wetlands, are on private land and are unique to the Northern Tablelands and Monaro Plateau.

Anya Salmon of Northern Tablelands Local Land Services (Northern Tablelands LLS) said the lagoons were different to lakes because they underwent wetting and drying cycles and that this was how they were formed thousands of years ago.

“They offer refuge and habitat to many well-known migratory bird species, including the commonly sighted black swans as well as the highly invisible, secretive and endangered Australasian Bittern, among many others,” Ms Salmon said.

“We discovered the unrecorded lagoon while conducting flora and aquatic surveys.

“These wetland communities have demonstrated that they are highly dynamic as they experience changes in vegetation across the years as well as across seasons.”

Research undertaken in the project led to some on-ground changes in the way the lagoons are managed such as preventing stock access with the installation of protective fencing.

The project team were also able to take the opportunity to protect and enhance some of the rich biodiversity of the region’s travelling stock reserves that also host upland wetlands.

Ms Salmon said grazing exclusions placed on some of the reserves had enabled native vegetation regeneration and had protected sensitive wetland habitat from the impact of grazing livestock.

“It has been one of the project highlights,” she said.

Members of the project team also led a revegetation campaign that saw 10ha of the Little Llangothlin Nature Reserve near Guyra planted primarily with New England Peppermint (E. nova-anglica).

The reserve is the region’s only RAMSAR site and was the venue for one of several field days held during the project’s duration.

“We engaged with private landholders to protect some of the lagoons from the impacts of trampling, pugging and polluting caused by the routine activities of livestock and other agricultural practices,” she said.

“We also encouraged landholders to share their history of the lagoons, how they have included management of these sensitive areas into their farm plans and how they will continue to manage them into the future.”

Northern Tablelands LLS is awaiting the outcome of a funding application to continue working with owners of the upland wetlands and the broader community to continue to promote the significance of these unique and ever-changing habitats.

The project was funded as part of the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

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