Long Swamp is a 15 km long coastal freshwater wetland complex situated in Discovery Bay Coastal Park, approximately 50 km north-west from Portland in south-western Victoria. The wetland system supports a diverse suite of nationally threatened species and is now part of Australia’s 66th and newest Ramsar site (Glenelg Estuary and Discovery Bay) and is recognised as a wetland of international importance.
The restoration project began after the local community in Nelson, Victoria, had expressed concern for over a decade about the impact that two artificial outlets to the ocean were having on wetland condition. The outlets were cut during an era when the swamp was grazed, many decades before being dedicated as a conservation reserve in the 1970s. In 2012, Nature Glenelg Trust (NGT) became actively involved in Long Swamp, working closely with Parks Victoria, the Nelson Coast Care Group, and the Glenelg Hopkins CMA. After a scientific review it was found that the more remote artificial outlet to the sea had in fact naturally closed (resulting in some natural recovery). A trial was subsequently planned to block the second and final artificial outlet to increase the availability, diversity and connectivity of aquatic habitats throughout Long Swamp, in order to benefit a wide range of wetland dependant species.
From 2014 to 2015 a temporary structure to block the outlet (made of 7000 sandbags) was completed, involving over 60 volunteers. Water levels in the swamp immediately upstream of the final structure increased, showing sustained recovery of key species and inundation extent. There have also been large gains across downstream habitats as a result of groundwater mounding, sub-surface seepage and redirected surface flows through several hundreds of hectares of wetland habitat. Meaningful community participation has been one of the most critical ingredients in the success of this project so far, leading to a strong sense of shared achievement for all involved. Monitoring continues to guide ongoing works, which now includes converting the trial structure to a permanent solution in 2019 – which will take the form of a reinstated, revegetated sand dune built around the trial structure.
Contact. Mark Bachmann, Nature Glenelg Trust, PO Box 2177, MT GAMBIER, SA 5290 Australia, Tel +61 8 8797 8181, Mob 0421 97 8181, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.natureglenelg.org.au
Longer outline on EMR journal’s project summaries website: https://site.emrprojectsummaries.org/2016/03/07/long-swamp-discovery-bay-coastal-park-victoria/
NGH newsletter in which there is a link to a video on the project: http://natureglenelg.org.au/ngt-wins-the-2018-sera-national-award-for-restoration-excellence/