Forum to present latest research on Gwydir Wetlands

Published 09 July 2008

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A two-day forum in Moree next week will focus on research projects and management initiatives undertaken in the Lower Gwydir wetlands and channels over the past few years.

“Many of the research projects on this high-conservation-value ecosystem are nearing completion, and this forum will give researchers and managers an opportunity to explain their work to the community at large,” said the convener of the forum, Dr Glenn Wilson from the University of New England.

“The Moree community and landholders will have an opportunity to learn about individual projects, how these complement each other, and ways in which the findings will be used by managers of the catchment’s rivers and wetlands,” Dr Wilson said.

The forum, on Tuesday the 15th and Wednesday the 16th of July, is being jointly hosted by the Border Rivers-Gwydir Catchment Management Authority and Moree Plains Shire Council. The first day, at The Max Centre, Balo Street, Moree, will comprise a series of research and management talks, with time for questions and for viewing research and organisational displays. On the second day there will be a bus tour to view river and wetland sites in the Lower Gwydir wetlands area, where landholders, researchers and managers will talk about maintaining both healthy and sustainable farming in this unique landscape. Attendance is free apart from a $20 charge for the forum dinner on Tuesday evening.

Among the presentations will be a report by Dr Wilson on research conducted through UNE and the Cotton Catchment Communities Cooperative Research Centre (Cotton CRC), and funded by the Australian Government, that has produced useful insights into how fish, planktonic animals, water chemistry and wetland plants respond to environmental and other flow releases from Copeton Dam.

The Gwydir Wetland System covers an area of 102,120 hectares and provides more than $200 million of irrigated agricultural products in the Gwydir region. It is listed in the Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia.

Next week’s forum has gained the support of a wide range of agencies, including UNE, the NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change, the Murray-Darling Basin Commission, the Border Rivers-Gwydir CMA, Moree Plains Shire Council, the Gwydir Valley Irrigators Association, the NSW Department of Primary Industries, and the Cotton CRC.

For more information on the forum contact Dr Glenn Wilson on (02) 6773 3078 or 0429 837 082 (e-mail: glenn.wilson@une.edu.au).