On Saturday the 2nd of February I had the pleasure of joining the Friends of Yatmerone Wildlife Reserve for a “World Wetlands Day” celebration. World Wetlands Day marks the anniversary of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention), all the way back in 1971. Each year the celebration has a theme and this year’s theme was Wetlands in Agriculture. Such a theme is very apt for south-western Victoria as most of the wetland estate is on private land and is often surrounded by, or even part of, land utilised for agricultural production.
For those of you who haven’t been there, Yatmerone is a small Parks Victoria reserve on the outskirts of Penshurst in southwest Victoria. The feature of this reserve is a deep freshwater marsh. It is spring fed and as a result of a dam wall constructed early last century, is now one of the more reliable aquatic refuges in this part of the region. The photo below shows this green oasis as viewed from the top of nearby Mount Rouse. Can you spot it?
With over 30 species of bird and an equivalent number of native plants, Yatmerone is a wonderful wildlife refuge and well worth a visit. A brochure on the reserve is available here.
Following a short walk, we returned to Penshurt’s Volcano Discovery Centre for a barbecue lunch and a couple of talks. Rod Bird, who is a great authority on wetlands in this part of the world, gave a very interesting overview of the history of settlement in the area and what this meant in terms of the local swamps and lakes. You can find several reports which Rod and the Hamilton Field Naturalists Club have compiled relating to flora and fauna in the Hamilton region online. I also presented an overview of our wetland restoration program with a focus on some of our local projects.
World Wetlands Day falls at a time when most wetlands in this part of the world are dry so it is always nice to be able to find somewhere wet and take in just what these fragile systems mean for the surrounding landscape. Momentum is really picking up for wetland restoration in this region so hopefully there should be a few more places holding water to celebrate this worthy event at this time of year, in the years to come!