After many years in the making, today I had the privilege of being present at the official announcement that Piccaninnie Ponds is now formally listed as a wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention.
The announcement was made at Pick Swamp, the restored wetland to the west of Piccaninnie Ponds that was added to the Conservation Park a few years ago, which also forms part of the newly listed Ramsar wetland area.
On a personal note, today was one of those rare days where I actually experienced a sense of completion – for a place and restoration project that I had invested so much in over the last 13 years. By the way, I say rare because environmental projects by their very nature tend to stay as ongoing “works in progress” – and (in my experience) something that you remain closely connected to long after they start. So while it is often difficult to determine an end-point, today’s announcement is different. As the 65th Ramsar listed wetland in Australia, and only the 6th in South Australia – this special place is now appropriately – and permanently – recognised. What a great achievement by the many people involved in the Ramsar nomination process over the last decade (BG, MH, PW, SC, AA, BL, RB…) for our region!
And in case you were wondering, thanks to the efforts of Steve Clarke and others at DEWNR, the “works in progress” at Piccaninnie Ponds continue – with the next stage of wetland restoration works (funded by the Australian Government Biodiveristy Fund) due to commence in the near future.
Finally, it was great to see so many familiar, friendly faces today from community groups in Mount Gambier, Port MacDonnell, Nelson and beyond – after all, the dedication of your voluntary efforts towards the restoration works are everywhere to be seen; from the fishway and boardwalk at the Piccaninnie Ponds outlet, to the revegetation works, and ongoing bird and water quality monitoring at Pick Swamp.
Thanks to everyone who came along for being part of a really special and historic day – one I will long remember.