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Parks Victoria has released a draft Strategic Action Plan for Barmah National Park and the Barmah Forest Ramsar Site.
These are more-or less in the same area, and contain internationally significant wetlands and Red Gum flooded forest areas on the Murray River, north-east of Echuca.
The remarkably well-researched strategy aims to restore the natural integrity of the area, which has been seriously degraded by a population of around 700-800 feral horses, as well as pigs, goats and deer, and a number of highly invasive weeds.
We encourage you to support Parks Victoria’s plan, by completing the survey at:
A prime aim of the strategy is the restoration of Barmah’s remarkable moira grass floodplains. This remarkable, giant wetland grass provides habitat to threatened turtles, frogs and many waterbirds and invertebrates, and was once an extensive feature of the Barmah floodplains. It has now been reduced to around 5 per cent of its original extent, and is likely to disappear completely within a decade – but it can be saved with your support!
Control of the horses is now essential, as well as control of weeds such as arrowhead, and the restoration of Barmah’s natural flooding regimes.
Barmah’s horses have suffered greatly during a recent drought, with many dying of starvation. They are a domestic animal, ill-equipped to handle conditions at Barmah.
Parks Victoria’s plan is to remove the horses by the most humane means available to them. Whenever horses are known to be able to be given new homes, they will be lured into yards, tamed and rehomed. Horses unable to be rehomed will be culled on-site by professional shooters, under the guidance of animal welfare professionals.
Leaving horses there is neither good for them, nor for the park and its plants and native animals. The threatened broad-shelled turtle, for example, lays its eggs close to the water’s edge where they can be destroyed by hard-hooved animals.
The Barmah wetlands are Victoria’s Kakadu, and deserve this well-informed restoration strategy. Please go to engage.vic.gov.au/barmah-strategic-action-plan , where you can view the plan in detail, or a plan summary. And tell Parks Victoria that you support:
- plans to restore appropriate water regimes
- programs for the eventual removal of feral horses from Barmah’s wetlands
- control programs for other feral animals
- control programs for invasive weeds
And please tell Parks Victoria that you respect this crucial, evidence-based strategy that they have developed for Barmah National Park and its wetlands.