Sharing the evolving story of Burdens Marsh with the Tasman Peninsula community this April

In our last update on the story of the saltmarsh area within the Tasmanian Land Conservancy’s Sloping Main Reserve, we talked about what the early maps can tell us about Burdens Marsh – an important area of previously modified saltmarsh currently being assessed by NGT to understand its history of change and evaluate its potential as a future restoration project.

On my most recent visit to Turrakana (the Tasman Peninsula) in mid-March, I had the pleasure of catching up again on a couple of occasions with the previous owner of Burdens Marsh, John Price, and – as always – we covered a lot of ground!

Catching up at Slopen Main: John Price, John’s partner Marlene, and Mark Bachmann from NGT.

One of the things I have been particularly enjoying doing with John, which is absolutely critical to the eco-hydrological assessment process, is piecing together what we now know for certain about the history of Burdens Marsh, but then using his local knowledge, other lines of evidence and a dash of educated guesswork (informed by common sense) to try to fill in the gaps. Taking the time to explore and arrange this information into a timeline, enables us to describe the original state of a wetland more accurately, and determine when and why certain changes were made. This knowledge in turn allows us to concentrate on any hydrological (water management) issues that can be remedied today, to set the site on a positive trajectory of ecological recovery for the future.

Thanks to the help of John and others, we are making excellent progress with fleshing out this timeline of change, and the restoration options for Burdens Marsh (including their relative priority) are starting to emerge as a result.

We’ll be sharing a draft of this timeline of change and restoration options at a community field day being held at Burdens Marsh in conjunction with the Tasmanian Land Conservancy (TLC) just after Easter, on Wednesday 3rd April. Unfortunately the field day is now fully booked out (but you can join a waitlist here), so to make up for it, we’ll share all the latest information on the field day and everything we discuss on-site, in next month’s NGT newsletter.

Before returning to the mainland after my most recent visit, it was also great to catch up with NGT’s local Senior Wetland Ecologist, Bec Sheldon, and we visited the TLC crew at their Hobart offices, to explore all the latest discoveries about Burdens Marsh and begin to talk over possible future restoration options.

By the way, in case you were wondering, yes, I did manage to get another shot of Burdens Marsh while in the neighbourhood, and like all of south-eastern Australia of late, Turrakana (the Tasman Peninsula) has been incredibly dry. As a result, the latest view of the saltmarsh (see below) shows the mouth well and truly blocked with sand and barely a drop of water is to be seen across the wetlands on the TLC Reserve at present. But fear not, saltmarsh habitats are very hardy and dynamic environments, and the autumn break can’t be too far away!

Burdens Marsh at Sloping Main in March 2024. Photo: Mark Bachmann

This project is being delivered by NGT in partnership with the Tasmanian Land Conservancy,
with support from the Purryburry Trust

Mark Bachmann