February 2nd is World Wetlands Day, and what’s more, World Wetlands Day 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Ramsar Treaty to protect significant wetland sites!
A wetland is an area of land where water covers the soil – even for only part of the year. They can be natural or artificial. The water in them can be still or flowing, fresh, salty or in-between (brackish). Wetlands are found in all kinds of places – along the coast, in the mountains, in dry inland areas, even underground. Many of them are connected by rivers.
With wetlands globally under increasing pressure from development, climate change and other threats, it’s more important than ever to recognise the value of these unique ecosystems, big and small.
Wetland biodiversity contributes to ecosystem resilience, clean water, water supply, storm protection, carbon storage, health and well-being, recreation, tourism and jobs.
Ecotourism Australia (EA) have many members and certified tourism operators who incorporate wetlands into their tourism products in a sustainable way. Offering responsible and respectful wetland tourism experiences can have a positive impact on experiential learning and awareness for wetland biodiversity, natural processes, protection and regeneration.
Rich with abundance, wetlands are some of the best places to spot wildlife or go birdwatching. Advanced Ecotourism ECO certified Araucaria Ecotours operate from the Brisbane Region, QLD to deliver zoologist and naturalist led wildlife tours. Their Birdwatching day tour is tailored to their guests, visiting either Eagleby Wetlands or Lake Wivenhoe. You are guaranteed to see a variety of waterbirds with stops at forested areas for the occasional bush bird siting.
Ecotourism ECO certified, Hall of Fame operator Kingfisher Cruises, from the Murray Region, Victoria offers tours in the World-Heritage listed Barmah Wetlands. Hear fascinating commentary from a certified ECO guide about the hundreds of species of water birds, animals and native fish that have made the Barmah wetlands and forest their home.
Advanced Ecotourism ECO certified Cruise Maroochy Ecotours, from the Sunshine Coast, QLD offers eco cruises to the Maroochy wetlands sanctuary, showcasing awe inspiring displays of healthy and extensive mangrove forests. Cruise Maroochy respect the natural balance of the local estuarine system. Their Creek to Coast cruise exposes this balance and the damaging influence of local development and agriculture. This cruise is taken only during high tides to minimise the impact on the seabed.
South to Tasmania, 41 Degrees South Salmon and Ginseng Farm run a sustainable inland farm and tourist attraction near Launceston. When taking a tour around 41 Degrees South, visitors can explore the elevated boardwalks over the wetlands and experience farming in a natural setting. Salmon are grown in fresh waters, which flow, gravity fed, into the salmon tanks and through natural and man-made wetlands. There is always something to see as changing seasons bring different birds and wetland wildlife, giving them a habitat to feed, breed, nest and rest.
Join an ECO certified tourism operator on a tour to learn more about our wonderful wetlands.
Celebrate World Wetlands Day on social media by including the hashtags #WorldWetlandsDay and #RespectRamsar
[Banner Image: Barmah National Park / Visit Melbourne]