Wetland Site Assessments in the Hawkesbury (Applied Ecology 2021)

The Wetlands Site Assessments in the Hawkesbury Report is a review of the state and condition of 30 wetlands in Hawkesbury and 5 Hill. It reviews past research and provides new insight into the health of wetlands, the threats they face and the challenges when managing them. A proforma/profile was written for each wetland assessed which includes an overall wetland condition score, information about the surrounding area, water quality, flora and fauna biodiversity, threats and recommends actions to improve management that could be achieved by a landholder and/or wetlands group. The overall wetlands scores were developed using an assessment method by Applied Ecology which takes into account 44 parameters that fall under categories such as water quality, soil and water, habitat features (in and surrounding the wetland), natural assets (desk top), site features, vegetation characteristics and wetlands details (desktop). The report highlights the value of Landcare in wetlands management as a community-based organisation that initiates research, engages with private landholders, organises education and training workshops and, carries out on-the-ground restoration activities. Please note some of the data in the proformas such as fauna records and water quality are snapshot of what was present on the day. When used for making decisions the data must be reviewed with long-term records. This report was commissioned by Hawkesbury Wetlands Group through HNLN and was funded by a Community Environment Program. It is a great achievement and contribution to the HNLN and the NRM space. Already, it has been used for DA submissions and requested by State Government to inform water-sharing laws in the area because they had no updated wetlands information (the report was not published yet). For more you can read about it in this article 'Landmark' report on Hawkesbury floodplain wetlands records abundant birdlife - and weeds - on Sydney's doorstep (https://www.hawkesburygazette.com.au/story/7616943/pristine-to-poor-hawkesburys-wetlands-ranked/). The report was formally presented at the Wetlands Forum (https://landcare.nsw.gov.au/groups/hawkesbury-landcare-network/future-of-the-wetlands-in-the-hawkesbury-forum-a-success/). If you have any questions or would like to get more involved in wetlands management or the Hawkesbury Wetlands Group, please contact us!