Many wetlands experience periodic drying as part of their natural flood and drought cycle, however, prolonged dry periods for some sites, as experienced in the current drought, can have a significant negative impact on wetland health.
Watering wetlands can maintain refuge habitats and encourage breeding of frogs, waterbirds and fish and maintain the health of vegetation. Long term exposure of wetland soils can lead to the formation of toxic acid sulphate soils.
Healthy Rivers Australia has partnered with the South Australian River Murray Environmental Manager (RMEM) to support a major wetland watering program. Of the 27 small wetlands currently managed by the RMEM, 21 have been targeted for priority watering in 2008/2009.
The total amount of water required to support these sites is 12,000 megalitres (12 billion litres) and the wetlands range from 8 megalitres to 3,200 megalitres in volume.
In June 2008 Healthy Rivers Australia delivered environmental water to Little Duck Lagoon (read media release), a drying wetland near Berri in South Australia. Little Duck Lagoon is an important breeding habitat for the endangered ‘Southern Bell Frog’. As a result of our water donation, frogs and the iconic River red gum among other native species have received water.