Develop and submitted a standardised wetland assessment protocol for assessing the suitability of permanent wetlands for disconnection and development of an ongoing monitoring programme for disconnected wetlands - M/BUS/232 XA225
MDFRC Technical Report 4/2007
As agreed by First Ministers, a number of measures including the disconnection of wetlands have been progressively implemented over recent months. Additional wetlands in South Australia and NSW have been identified as having the potential to return relatively high yields in evaporative savings (Murray-Darling Basin, Dry Inflow Contingency Planning Overview Report to First Ministers April 2007). The restoration of the natural wetting and drying regimes is typically expected to improve habitat availability for indigenous flora and fauna. However, within the current management context there are a number of site specific conditions that may expose wetlands to long-term or irreversible damage. These conditions include acidification potential, shallow groundwater, and the role of the wetland as critical drought refugia for threatened or rare species persistence. Both these factors will be considered in the proposed assessment. It is recommended that these wetlands undergo ecological assessment to ensure that long-term or permanent ecological damage will not be sustained, before commencement of construction of works to disconnect them. Sites that are identified as supporting threatened species are likely to require assessments under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The States have agreed in MDBC Out-of-Session Resolution 138 that the Environmental Watering Group (EWG) will consider and provide advice to the MDBC on a standardised rapid flora and fauna assessment protocol and an ongoing wetland monitoring programme identifying environmental trigger points to guide the management of the closure and reopening of wetlands. The monitoring program will enable a clear evaluation of both short term and long term impacts of drying on the ecology of the wetland.