Under the Ramsar Convention, ecological character is the combination of the ecosystem components, processes and benefits/services that characterise the wetland at ‘a given point in time’, which is usually taken to be the time the site was listed as a Wetland of International Importance. The Macquarie Marshes Nature Reserve and U-block were both part of the Ramsar site when it was listed in 1986, which is therefore the baseline for this ECD.
The Macquarie Marshes are located on the lower floodplain of the Macquarie River in central western NSW. The Macquarie Marshes Nature Reserve and U-block are about 100 km north of Warren and 30 km west of Quambone. When listed in 1986, the site was named the Macquarie Marshes Nature Reserve Ramsar site and comprised three separate areas: a northern section and a southern section currently referred to as the northern and southern nature reserve, with a total area of 18,192 hectares; and U-block, with an area of 197.5 ha (including a road reserve). U-block is now privately owned but the road reserve through U-block will be excluded from the Ramsar site in the updated Ramsar Information Sheet (RIS).