Considering the importance of our wetlands on World Wetlands Day
Published on 23 January 2019
Saturday 2 February is World Wetlands Day and Mornington Peninsula Shire is urging the community to celebrate our unique wetland areas and consider the 2019 international theme of 'wetlands and climate change’.
World Wetlands Day is celebrated internationally each year on 2 February marking the anniversary of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention) in Ramsar, Iran, on 2 February 1971.The Ramsar Convention's broad aims are to halt the worldwide loss of wetlands and to conserve, through wise use and management, those that remain.
Shire Mayor Councillor David Gill said “the Mornington Peninsula has two of Australia’s most significant wetlands”.
“The Western Port Ramsar wetlands near Hastings is part of the United Nations (UNESCO) declared special biosphere reserve of the Western Port catchment and one of only nine biospheres in Australia. The Tootgarook wetlands provide habitat for a range of plants and animals, help reduce the impacts of flooding, maintain good water quality in rivers and recharge groundwater”.
“Both these wetlands also play an important role in our approach to climate change mitigation and adaptation, through capturing and storing carbon to reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases, and providing resilience to hazards such as flooding, storm surge and sea level rise – yet these important and fragile ecosystems are susceptible to climate change and insensitive development”.
“It’s up to all of us to work together as a community to proactively address climate change in our own backyard to secure these wetland areas for future generations”.
What Council is doing and how you can help?
Last year Council took action to protect Tootgarook Wetland by acquiring an adjoining seventy-acre parcel of land forming part of the largest groundwater-dependent ecosystem and freshwater marsh in the region.
The 590 hectare Wetland area holds significant environmental and cultural value and is home to more than 240 indigenous plant species and a variety of fauna, including internationally significant birdlife.
Council recently adopted a new Climate Change Community Engagement Strategy designed to help our community reduce greenhouse gas emissions and be better prepared for the impacts of climate change. As part of the Strategy, the Shire has committed to assist the community to achieve a minimum community greenhouse gas emission reduction of 2.9% annually.
View the plan, find out more about what the Shire is doing to tackle climate change and discover what you can do to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change online at: mornpen.vic.gov.au/climatechange.
You can also visit the Eco Living Display Centre at The Briars (450 Nepean Hwy, Mount Martha)
to see what you can do around the home to reduce your water, energy and waste. The Eco Centre is open every Friday from 1 – 4pm and runs regular workshops. Learn more at: mornpen.vic.gov.au/ecoliving