The Macquarie Marshes


The Macquarie Marshes is one of the largest semi-permanent freshwater wetlands in south-east Australia, covering about 200,000 hectares. These Marshes and surrounding areas provide a valuable focus for research activities through the Murray–Darling Basin EWKR project.

The marshes have long been recognised as internationally important habitats. In 1986, sections of the marshes were Ramsar-listed as ‘semi-permanent’ ecosystems. They support a number of both nationally and internationally threatened species in a variety of habitat types and are highly significant places for fish and colonial-nesting waterbirds (such as wading birds and shorebirds) which rely on river flows and floods for breeding.

However, in 2009, the ecological character of the Ramsar listing was changed to ‘ephemeral wetland’ because of extensive changes to the flow regime caused by river regulation and extraction. As a result, under the Ramsar convention, Article 3.2 Response Strategy for the Macquarie Marshes Ramsar Siteis being implemented to address the decline of the wetlands and help restore the system to good health.

The Murray–Darling Basin EWKR Vegetation and Food Web research teams will be carrying out on-ground data collection in the Macquarie Marshes and surrounding areas during 2017. The Waterbird research team has commenced on-ground studies making observations of bird-breeding within the Marshes.

The Macquarie Marshes - Map supplied by Department of the Environment and Energy

Macquarie Marshes Bird life Photo: Ben Gawne

The Macquarie Marshes Photo: Ben Gawne