Wetlands | wwf


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[created on 10/11/2005]

The wetland areas of Australia are some of the most magnificent in the world.

WWF-Australia is working to ensure these precious fresh water regions, and the animal and plant species they support, are protected and preserved.

Wetland Watch

The Wetland Watch project is aimed at enhancing the sustainable management and conservation of wetlands on the Swan Coastal Plain, focusing on high value wetlands on private land.


The Kimberley Region in north-western Australia is known throughout the world for its spectacular river systems and coastal wetlands.

The rivers, wetlands and groundwater systems in the Kimberley also have important social and economic values, supporting local industries such as barramundi fisheries, tourism and aquaculture.

Find out more about WWF's work in the Kimberley wetlands.

The Nebine catchment

The Nebine Catchment, located in southern Queensland, is part of the Murray-Darling Basin and is a culturally and naturally diverse area. Kooma Traditional Owners have recently purchased properties in the Nebine catchment, and are committed to better understanding the ecological importance of wetlands and wildlife on their lands, and manage the properties to protect and conserve these values.

WWF-Australia is working with the Kooma people to protect their water resources and manage their property sustainably.

We have been meeting and working with traditional owners to understand how to best incorporate wetlands and wildlife management into property management practices on their grazing properties.
We have been providing training in mammal and reptile survey techniques to enable traditional owners to carry out ongoing surveys on their properties.
We have been helping the Kooma people carry out fauna surveys on properties granted to them by the Indigenous Land Corporation.

The southern Gulf of Carpentaria

The southern Gulf of Carpentaria features 10,000 km2 of nationally important wetlands and hosts more than 300,000 water birds. Its catchments include a vast savanna and open woodland, with numerous wild rivers and associated wetlands that support a dazzling display of plants and animals.

But the area remains threatened by weeds, such as parkinsonia and rubber vine, which have the potential to devastate the wetlands and the habitats they support; irrigated agriculture and aquaculture developments with associated land clearing and water extraction; and intensification of the pastoral industry.

WWF-Australia is working with a range of people, including landholders, traditional owners, government, local communities and industry to improve land management for the long-term benefit of the environment in this region.

We are promoting the vital ecological values of Gulf wetlands, and identifying the challenges ahead to build appropriate management capacity for land users, such as farmers and irrigators.
Our work is focussed on establishing and promoting cooperative management agreements, including Ramsar listing, to safeguard the Gulf's natural resources for future generations of plants, animals and people.

The Ramsar Convention

The Convention of Wetlands of International Importance (known as the 'Ramsar Convention', after the city in Iran where it was established), promotes the conservation and wise use of internationally important wetlands for future generations of animals, plants and humans.

Wetlands on public or private land that are identified as being of biological importance for multitudes of species and demonstrating good management of water are known as Ramsar sites.

Our work ranges from high-level negotiations and partnership development, such as with business or industry water-users, to on-ground activities with farmers.

In 1999-2000 we played a crucial role in the establishment of the first Ramsar listings on private land in Australia.
We develop and advocate for measures that will allow more effective implementation of the Convention in Australia.
We work with landowners and other stakeholders to identify and nominate internationally important wetlands to the Australian Government for official nomination and to create management arrangements to ensure these wetlands are conserved for the long term.
As part of the WWF network, we develop strategies to identify wetlands of international importance and how to integrate the Convention with other international water and wetland initiatives.