MEDIA RELEASE 21 February 2020 |
The Victoria National Parks Association (VNPA) congratulates the Victorian Government and Parks Victoria on the release of th Strategic Action Plan: Protection of floodplain marshes in Barmah National Park and Barmah Forest Ramsar site [2019-2023].
“Situated on the Murray River near Echuca, the Barmah forest and floodplains have been suffering a range of serious impacts for many years now, including invasive wetland weeds, hard hooved feral animals like horses, pigs and deer, and inappropriate flooding regimes,” says the VNPA’s park protection advocate, Phil Ingamells.
“This plan aims to address all of those issues, bringing health back to an area once known as Victoria’s Kakadu”, says Mr Ingamells.
“The floodplain supports around 70 bird species, such as Royal Spoonbills and a number of rare and threatened birds such as the Australasian Bittern. It also supports a large abundance of native frogs, turtles and water-dependent reptiles.
“Critical to the health of much of Barmah’s wildlife is the once-vast extent of Moira Grass, a floodplain plant critical to the survival of many species. Barmah’s large feral horse and pig population, as well as poorly timed releases of water into the floodplain, have reduced the Moira Grass plains to a tiny fraction of their earlier range. They are now facing extinction there” says Mr Ingamells
“Parks Victoria’s new four year strategy to heal the Barmah wetlands and associated River Red Gum forests is a timely and very welcome move to protect a truly remarkable part of Victoria’s remarkable natural heritage,” says Mr Ingamells.
Barmah’s wetlands are recognised internationally as RAMSAR wetlands, and the area has been protected as a national park since 2010.
Parks Victoria’s final Barmah strategy can be found here: www.engage.vic.gov.au/barmah-strategic-action-plan