Murray Wetland Carbon Storage

Background

Extensive vegetation clearing and altered management have caused a reduction in the extent and diversity of carbon stores across Australia. With careful management, wetlands represent a major potential carbon sink, with high levels of productivity and integral incorporation of carbon into sediments. Wetlands are also recognised as 'hotspots' for biodiversity across the landscape.

This project will revegetate and rehabilitate wetlands (including by environmental water delivery where appropriate and possible) on private property in the NSW Murray Catchment to act as biodiverse carbon stores. The project will also support PhD research to identify opportunities for current land managers to learn from Indigenous values and historical uses of wetlands and build connections to country.

Project Timeframe: 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2017.

Project Outcomes

This project will deliver 2,000 ha of biodiverse and high-efficiency wetland carbon stores across the NSW Murray Catchment through a partnership between the Murray Local Land Services (previously the Murray CMA) and the Murray Darling Wetlands Working Group Ltd. (MDWWG). This project will reverse the decline of a recognised key ecosystem type in the catchment, provide long-term storage of carbon, build capacity of regional communities to manage wetlands and build resilience to climate change within the wider landscape.

Sites for work will be prioritised to maximise outcomes including improving connectivity with other key natural assets in the catchment (e.g. Ramsar sites, National Parks and remnant vegetation patches). An Active Adaptive Management Approach will be applied to the project with a range of planting types established under different management regimes complemented by a substantial, strategic monitoring program.

Project Activities

On-ground incentive program will support landholders to replant cleared wetlands and enhance wetland and riparian vegetation on private property.

Biodiverse plantings will be established using a range of methods depending on the site but are expected to primarily use tubestock planting and sediment transfers within wetlands, and tubestock planting with some direct seeding in riparian areas fringing wetlands. Enhancement of remnant vegetation will be achieved through a combination of planting as above, altered land management (e.g. grazing management, pest and weed control) and where appropriate and possible, delivery of environmental water.

Sites for work will be prioritised to maximise outcomes. Identification of priority areas for work will utilise strategic planning instruments including 'Wetlands of the Murray Catchment' and the 'Riverine Strategy'. Risks identified in these documents will be customised to each site to develop risk management strategies for each site that will form part of the management agreement to be entered into by each participating landholder (minimum 10 year agreement).

Murray Local Land Services Region

Preliminary Wetland Priority Areas in the Central Murray Catchment area

2013/14 Investment Round (Investment Round 1)

The Murray Wetland Carbon Storage project has largely completed the first Investment Round which targeted wetlands in the former Murray CMA’s Central Region from September 2013 to February 2014.

A total of 14 wetland sites covering 877 ha and involving eight different landholders from the Morundah, Oaklands, Balldale, Lowesdale, Berrigan, Savernake and Jerilderie areas received on-ground works such as fencing, revegetation, signage, establishment of an alternative watering point, earthworks to improve wetland hydrology; and further works such as the construction of bird hides and interpretive signage will be completed in early 2015.

The wetland sites ranged from 4 to 420 ha with a mixture of current land uses including Travelling Stock Reserves, sheep and cattle grazing and are all now under a 10 year management agreement.

Investment Target Area 2013/14

One of two drainage swales completed for 'Big Lake' Warrembool, Balldale to improve hydrology

Site assessment for a 20 ha wetland near Corowa

Fencing works completed at 'Big Lake' Warrembool, Balldale to manage grazing

Bill and Cecile Nixon admiring the view at the newly fenced 'McKinnery' Lumeah, Savernake

2014/15 Investment Round (Investment Round 2)

The MDWWG and Murray LLS have been contacting landholders in the project area from July 2014 to determine their interest in the second Investment Round and have been assessing their wetland sites and in some instances, their adjacent riparian sites, to determine required on-ground works. Sites will be selected for funding in February 2015 followed by the development of Property Vegetation Plans (a 10 year management agreement) and the commencement of on-ground works.

The target area for the second Investment Round has been slightly expanded east and west to now include the townships of Jindera, Walla Walla, Culcairn, Jerilderie, Finley, Tocumwal and Barooga.

Investment Target Area 2014/15

Wetlands in other parts of the Murray region will be included in future Investment Rounds, with the third Investment Round planned for July 2015.

2015/16 Investment Round (Investment Round 3)

Round 3 of the Murray Wetland Carbon Storage Project is NOW OPEN.

Murray LLS, in partnership with the Murray Darling Wetlands Working Group, are seeking landholders interested in rehabilitating wetlands from the Local Government Areas of Greater Hume, Corowa, Berrigan, Jerilderie and Urana.

Expressions of Interest in the project are now being sought, closing Wednesday 30 September 2015.

For more information, view the Project Flyer (2015/16 Investment Round) August 2015 below or the Project Officers:

Communication Activities

Read the project flyer prepared for the 2014/15 Investment Round, attached below.

Read the first of a series of Factsheets to be prepared for this project (June 2013), attached below.

Read an article on the project in the February 2014 edition of Wetlands Australia, attached below.

An article on "Fixing wetlands for carbon" was published in the May 2014 edition of RipRap, attached below.

Project Steering Committee

Trish Bowen | Project Manager
Team Leader, Strategic Land Services
Murray Local Land Services

Rhonda Sinclair
Program Manager
Murray Darling Wetlands Working Group Ltd.

David Wolfenden
Board Member
Murray Local Land Services

Darren Baldwin
Biogeochemist
The Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre

Emma Wilson
Environmental Water Management Officer - Murray
NSW Office of Environment and Heritage

John Simpson
Community

Observers:

Sarah Ning
Project Officer
Murray Darling Wetlands Working Group Ltd.

Helen Waudby
Senior Land Services Officer - Environment Team
Murray Local Land Services
 

PDF Factsheet - June 2013 (698 KB)

PDF Article in Issue No 24 Wetlands Australia National wetlands update February 2014 (676 KB)

PDF RipRap (May 2014) (907 KB)

PDF Project flyer (2014/15 Investment Round) (1025 KB)

PDF Project Flyer (2015/16 Investment Round) August 2015 (1258 KB)