1. Salinisation has had a major effect on the diversity of biota associated with freshwater wetlands. However, there is no information available about whether elements of the biotic communities would be able to recover if the concentration of salts within secondarily salinised wetlands was lowered to levels more typical of freshwater wetlands. 2. We tested the hypothesis that dormant eggs of zooplankton are able to persist in wetlands with elevated salinities for extended periods of time by using zooplankton communities that had developed in mesocosms exposed to either salt concentrations of 13 500 mg L-1 or freshwater (<300 mg L-1) for a period of 22 months. We measured the response of the zooplankton community as concentration was reduced along a gradient of decreasing salinity from 13 500 mg L-1 to freshwater. 3. In the freshwater mesocosms, the zooplankton community was abundant and taxon rich. In comparison at the start of the experiment in the high salinity mesocosms, the zooplankton community had low abundances and very few taxa. Numbers remained low in these mesocosms until salinity was reduced to <2500 mg L-1. Below this, there was a rapid increase in the abundance, and richness of zooplankton and communities became similar to the communities in the freshwater mesocosms. 4. These results indicate that dormant eggs of zooplankton are able to persist in wetlands exposed to high salinity levels for up to 22 months and provide a means for zooplankton communities to rapidly respond once a wetland returns to freshwater. 5. It is likely that if the underlying causes of secondary salinisation in wetlands are addressed, it will be possible to undertake restoration activities that allow the rapid return of some components of their biotic communities.