18 hectares of Hunter Wetlands restored

Restoration work on 18 hectares of migratory wading bird habitat in the Hunter Wetlands National Park will start next month, NSW Environment Minister Mark Speakman said today.

Hunter Wetlands National Park

The Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group will restore the area as an offset for the construction of a rail fly-over at Newcastle. The rail fly-over will affect approximately four hectares of habitat.

“The work will restore saltmarsh for shorebirds and migratory waders close to the internationally significant Hunter Estuary Wetlands Ramsar site,” Mr Speakman said.

Mangroves encroaching on the mudflats and saltmarsh will be removed.

Plans for the restoration work have been prepared in consultation with the Hunter Bird Observers Club. The club has been removing mangrove seedlings in adjoining saltmarsh areas for several years.

Hunter Bird Observers Club conservation officer Mick Roderick said there had been significant loss to shorebird habitats because mangroves had gradually overtaken saltmarsh and mudflats areas.

“Mangrove proliferation is one of the key threats to migratory shorebird habitat in the Hunter Estuary, which is the most important migratory shorebird site in NSW,” Mr Roderick said.

“It requires active management, including removal of mangroves from areas that were saltmarsh or open mudflats.”

Ramsar sites are internationally recognised as important habitats for migratory wading birds. Six shorebirds recorded in the Hunter Estuary are vulnerable and one is endangered. Restoration work is expected to be completed, weather permitting, by November.

Media: Michael Cox 0429 465 227