Find out about The Ramsar Convention, and Ramsar Managers Network in NSW

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About Ramsar

What is the Ramsar Convention?

The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is an international treaty first signed in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971. This treaty provides the framework for national action and international co-operation to protect wetlands around the world. 160 countries including Australia have signed the Ramsar Convention. It is administered by the Ramsar Bureau, which is based in Geneva, Switzerland. There are 1898 internationally significant Wetlands including 63 in Australia of which 12 are in New South Wales.

What is a Ramsar listed wetland?

A Ramsar listed wetland must meet at least one of eight ecological criteria. Countries that have signed the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands identify and nominate wetlands for Ramsar listing. They manage these wetlands as part of an international network to protect biodiversity and to demonstrate wise use.

Ramsar Criteria

Under the Ramsar Criteria, wetlands should be selected for listing on account of their international significance related to biodiversity and uniqueness.

There are 9 Ramsar Criteria:

  1. Criterion 1: A wetland should be considered internationally important if it contains a representative, rare, or unique example of a natural or near-natural wetland type found within the appropriate biogeographic region.
  2. Criterion 2: A wetland should be considered internationally important if it supports vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered species or threatened ecological communities.
  3. Criterion 3: A wetland should be considered internationally important if it supports populations of plant and/or animal species important for maintaining the biological diversity of a particular biogeographic region.
  4. Criterion 4: A wetland should be considered internationally important if it supports plant and/or animal species at a critical stage in their life cycles, or provides refuge during adverse conditions.
  5. Criterion 5: A wetland should be considered internationally important if it regularly supports 20,000 or more waterbirds.
  6. Criterion 6: A wetland should be considered internationally important if it regularly supports 1% of the individuals in a population of one species or subspecies of waterbird.
  7. Criterion 7: A wetland should be considered internationally important if it supports a significant proportion of indigenous fish subspecies, species or families, life-history stages, species interactions and/or populations that are representative of wetland benefits and/or values and thereby contributes to global biological diversity.
  8. Criterion 8: A wetland should be considered internationally important if it is an important source of food for fishes, spawning ground, nursery and/or migration path on which fish stocks, either within the wetland or elsewhere, depend.
  9. Criterion 9: A wetland should be considered internationally important if it regularly supports 1% of the individuals in a population of one species or subspecies of wetland-dependent non-avian animal species.

Ramsar Video

NSW Ramsar Sites

Paroo Wetlands

The Paroo River is the last remaining free-flowing river in the Murray-Darling Basin. Wetland types within the site include large overflow lakes, tree-lined creeks and waterholes, lignum and canegrass swamps, and artesian mound springs. It is one of the most important wetland systems for waterbirds in eastern Australia and it supports a number of threatened plant and animal species as well as significant native fish communities.
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Hunter Estuary Wetlands

The Hunter Estuary Wetlands Ramsar site comprises Kooragang Nature Reserve (designated to the Ramsar list in 1984) and Shortland Wetlands. The boundary of Shortland Wetlands is 2.5 km from Kooragang Nature Reserve and is connected to it by a wildlife corridor consisting of Ironbark Creek, the Hunter River and Ash Island.
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Macquarie Marshes

The Macquarie Marshes comprises a complex of braided swamps, lagoons, channels and gilgaied floodplain inundated by flooding from the lower Macquarie and its distributary streams. The Marshes incorporate extensive areas of reed swamp, river red gum woodland, and water couch grasslands which provide important habitat for many species of flora and fauna, particularly the large numbers of colonial waterbirds which breed here as well as many migratory species.
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Gwydir Wetlands

The Gwydir Wetlands are one of the few terminal wetlands found within inland NSW and contain one of the largest stands of water couch and marsh club-rush remaining in New South Wales.
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Fivebough & Tuckerbil

Fivebough Swamp is a permanent, but fluctuating, fresh-brackish, shallow wetland and Tuckerbil Swamp is a seasonal, shallow, brackish-saline wetland. Both are of national and international importance because of the presence, abundance and diversity of waterbirds that have been recorded there, including migratory shorebirds and threatened species.
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NSW Central Murray Forests

The site plays a substantial role in the functioning of the River Murray, is critically important for the retention of native biodiversity in the Riverina bioregion, and contains significant social, cultural and economic resources.
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Click on one of the above Ramsar sites to read a brief overview of the site, and a link to more information.