Talking to ABC radio about the rapid filling of Green Swamp in 2023 – and, what’s the impact of variable rainfall on wetlands?

Last month, we featured a story about the big wet that followed the early break in some parts of south-eastern Australia in June. Indeed, it was that article which triggered interest from statewide ABC radio in Victoria, who were keen to check in with us on conditions at NGT wetland sites given that they were also receiving reports that give a very different impression from the opposite side of the state, in East Gippsland.

I ended up speaking with Breakfast Program host Jonathon Kendall about NGT’s Green Swamp Restoration Reserve, located in the southern Grampians near Glenthompson, as it was one of the wetlands that rapidly filled to capacity as a result of heavy June rainfall in its local catchment – as shown below.

The overflowing spillway at the outlet from Green Swamp in July 2023. Photo: Mark Bachmann

We also chatted about the benefit of wetland restoration and its important buffering role in waterways and floodplains, and in supporting ecosystems as refuge habitat, as we experience a potentially more variable and volatile future climate. To take a listen, please press play below:

By the way, in case you have missed the news of what appears to be an unfolding El Niño event beginning to impact eastern Australia, this ABC story paints the picture, as do the images below from the Bureau of Meteorology, which show rainfall totals across Australia, and an inset of Victoria specifically, combined for the months of June and July 2023. Interestingly, with the exception of the plains west of Melbourne, East Gippsland has been the driest part of of the state over this time, and by a fair margin.

Not only can rainfall vary considerably at the national and state level, but even at the local level it can be quite patchy depending on the type of weather systems responsible for the rain.

Although Green Swamp rapidly filled to capacity (below left), Walker Swamp (which has a different catchment area) didn’t – despite being very nearby – and will require further rainfall in the spring in its catchment for complete filling to occur this year. That said, as you will see below, it is still a spectacular sight!

In this image of Walker Swamp (below right), the new land purchase is in the foreground, Walker Swamp is mid-left and Brady Swamp is in the background.

Mark Bachmann