Lifeline for critically endangered wetland plant
Two small wetlands in the middle of western Victoria are at the heart of a plan to bring back a critically endangered aquatic plant.
Davis’ Dam on private farmland between Lake Buloke and Birchip, and Creswick Dam north of Marnoo, are being managed with water for the environment partly to help re-establish the marbled marshwort aquatic plant.
The plant’s floating leaves are lily-like, with a marbled green pattern on top. Marbled marshwort was once abundant in wetlands in Victoria and New South Wales, but farming practices, weed invasion, river regulation, and climate change have seen it almost wiped out.
That’s where the North Central Catchment Management Authority (CMA), Neil and Sue Davis, and the Avon Plains Banyena Landcare Group come in.
“It’s being grown in the Davis’ farm dam, as well as a pond in their backyard,” North Central CMA Project Officer Heremaia Titoko said.
“It is thriving and we’re really happy with the results so far.
“We have been able to translocate it into Creswick Swamp and are looking to do the same in other dams and wetlands nearby.”
Davis’ Dam and Creswick Swamp are two of seven Wimmera Mallee Pipeline wetlands the North Central CMA delivers water for the environment to.
Open irrigation channels and many dams were removed when the pipeline was built, making the remaining wetlands that receive water for the environment important refuges in a dry landscape.
“Having water available is a lifeline to a whole range of plants and animals in the region,” Ms Titoko said.
“We manage them with water for the environment, in cooperation with the property owners and the local community, with the aim of ensuring these wetlands continue to be oases for a long time to come.”
The North Central CMA will manage flows of up to 2.5 megalitres to five Wimmera Mallee Pipeline wetlands from late October: Chirrup Swamp, Creswick Swamp, Davis Wetland, Jeffcott Wildlife Reserve and Jesse Swamp,
The flows are authorised by the Victorian Environmental Water Holder in line with its Seasonal Watering Plan 2023-24. The Plan is available for download from www.vewh.vic.gov.au, with regular watering updates posted on the North Central CMA website.