16.12.2009. Russian experts studied Australia’s experience in wetland conservation
UNDP/GEF Project ‘Conservation of wetland biodiversity in the Lower Volga region’ conducted a study trip to Australia for decision makers to learn from international experience in wetland restoration between 5-14 December 2009.
Participants included decision makers from the three project areas – Astrakhan and Volgograd oblasts and Republic of Kalmykia, invited to Australia by the Institute of Land, Water and Society, at Charles Sturt University.
During the trip the participants visited Sydney Olympic Park, one of the most diverse city park territories in the world. The guests were introduced to a number of restored objects and to new methods of landscape restoration.
In Canberra, the delegation participated to a meeting with the Department of Environment, Water Heritage and Arts (DEWHA), where they discussed issues of water and biodiversity conservation policy, government policy in water management, decentralization of responsibilities, financing and strategic planning.
During the trip, the participants also met the Murray wetlands working group in Albury. The working group is engaged in the rehabilitation of degraded wetlands and improvement of the management of wetlands of the River Murray and Lower Murray Darling catchments in New South Wales through community involvement and best scientific knowledge. Topics for discussion included restoration works on private wetlands, successful cooperation with local community groups, and government and non-government agencies.
The guests were shown examples of urban water reuse and of restoration of the natural cycle in wetland management during their visit to the Wonga river wetlands. The delegation also visited Barmah State Forest, famous for its River Red Gum forest and large wetland area. Descendants of the Aboriginal people still live in this area and continue sharing their heritage and managing the natural environment.
The programme included a visit to Australia’s newest National Park Yanga, with its extensive Murrumbidgee River frontage, wetlands, lakes and breeding grounds for waterbirds. The participants got acquainted with the Werribee wetlands enlisted as a Ramsar site and comprising a complex and interrelated set of natural water ways, swamps and marshes alongside the Werribee Sewage Treatment complex which contains both natural and artificial wetland areas.
The study trip to Australia inspired the participants with new ideas, projects on wetland restoration and implementation strategies which can be possibly applied in the Lower Volga region.
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