Revisiting Gooseneck Swamp 10 years later – NGT’s first restoration site in the Grampians National Park

During a recent visit with a couple of supporters to NGT’s Walker Swamp Restoration Reserve, we briefly hopped over the fence into the adjoining National Park, to take a look at the view over Gooseneck Swamp.

What drew our attention to this wetland was that fact that – in the beautiful, clear autumn daylight – the area was emitting the most amazing, lush, vibrant suite of green colours imaginable, in stark contrast the the surrounding brown landscape, given the recent extended run of hot and dry weather.

As you will see below, the area was also teeming with wildlife, seemingly benefiting from summer flows continuing to trickle in from the Wannon River.

Ten years after restoration: Gooseneck Swamp bustling with activity and covered in lush green growth in March 2024. Photo: Mark Bachmann

It was then that I started to feel just a tad nostalgic, as it dawned on me that it has been exactly 10 years since the first summer season to follow the Gooseneck Swamp Restoration Trial. Not only was this the first wetland restoration project NGT initiated in the Grampians, way back in 2013, but it also marked the starting point of an incredible journey that has led to dozens of other amazing wetland restoration projects in the local area, supported by fantastic ongoing relationships we have formed with many local farmers and landholders, and government agencies such as Parks Victoria, the Glenelg Hopkins CMA and the Victorian Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA).

This list of projects that followed of course includes the restoration of Walker Swamp, which began with a trial in 2014, and later led to a NGT land purchase in 2018, followed by permanent restoration works a year later, with absolutely spectacular results.

Back to Gooseneck Swamp and for a quick comparison, I have gone digging through my photo archives to show you just how good the wetland is looking this year, at a time when it is often already dry. Below is a direct comparison of the same view almost exactly 10 years apart.

The top image is a photo in February 2014, the first summer after the restoration trial began, and the image below is from March 2024, nine years after Gooseneck Swamp was permanently restored by NGT (by completely backfilling the artificial drainage outlet cutting) back in 2015.

Aren’t wetlands fascinating, ever-changing ecosystems?!

Gooseneck Swamp in February 2014. Photo: Mark Bachmann
Gooseneck Swamp in March 2024. Photo: Mark Bachmann
Mark Bachmann