Waterways and wetlands
The Bundaberg Region contains many kinds of wetlands. Wetlands have often been regarded as swampy "wastelands" and breeding grounds for mosquitoes, but we know they are very important for our freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems.
Wetlands enhance water quality, mitigate floods, provide refuge for wildlife in dry seasons and sustain grazing long after floods have receded. Due to their ability to trap sediments and filter nutrients, they have been tagged the cleansing "kidneys" of the river systems. In this role they are vital in sustaining healthy rivers on which our communities depend, and the many land uses surrounding them.
The importance of recognising and protecting our wetlands is vital to regional health as well as being important to sustaining vegetation and wildlife populations.
Some of the important wetlands and waterways of the Bundaberg Region include:
- Bundaberg Port and Burnett Heads
- Coonarr creek
- Burrum River
- Moore Park
- Littabella National Park
- Baffle Creek
- Bundaberg Creek
- Baldwin Swamp Environmental Park
- Splitters Creek
- Mon Repos/Pasturage Reserve
These wetlands provide habitat for waterbirds including waders and shorebirds. Some birds live in Australia all year round, while others migrate thousands of kilometres to visit for a few months each year. Migratory birds fly along routes known as flyways, which link chains of wetlands where travelling birds stop to eat and rest on their long migrations. To read more about shorebirds head to our shorebird page.
Some of our wetland systems are no longer working naturally because human activity has altered water flows.
Wetlands are threatened by earthworks, draining, water extraction, climate change, poor agricultural practices, feral animals including cane toads, invasive plants and uncontrolled fires.
A damaged wetland can become a healthy system again with careful rehabilitation. However, once a wetland is drained or built on, it may not be possible to restore it to its natural state.
Some things we can all do to keep wetlands healthy so everyone can enjoy them include:
- when visiting wetlands keep pets under control and carry out all rubbish
- keep weeds and invasive species such as aquarium fish, out of wetlands
- join a local landcare group that cares for wetlands
- find out more about wetlands and what makes them special