The Lockyer Valley, west of Brisbane, contains over 100 natural wetlands many of which provide significant habitat for waterbirds. In recognition of these wetlands and their significant values, the Lockyer Valley Regional Council (LVRC) in partnership with Healthy Waterways, Land for Wildlife and the Wetland Awareness Group organised a Wetland Awareness and Bird Identification Bus Tour which visited some of the many beautiful wetlands of the Lockyer Valley.
In late March, Redleaf Environmental wetland ecologists Dr Darren Fielder and Mr Michael Wood were privileged to be invited to speak to the community members on the bus tour. The tour took approximately 30 members of the Wetland Awareness Group, Friends of Lake Apex, LVRC and Land for Wildlife around to several wetlands near Gatton.
The bus tour provided an excellent stage for Dr Darren Fielder and Michael Wood to share their expertise with interested persons from the Gatton community, and to promote awareness and foster appreciation of wetlands. The tour also aimed to further encourage everyone in the participation of wetland conservation measures into the future.
The Lockyer Valley region and its wetlands had received welcome rain in the days leading up to the bus tour. This meant that the physical nature of these wetlands had changed significantly from only a week before when many of the region’s wetlands were rapidly drying out. Another storm front had moved into the region the night prior to the tour making for a wet morning out for those involved.
The bus tour visited Lowes Road Lagoon at Placid Hills, Karasch’s Lagoon near Gatton, the water reservoir of Lake Clarendon, and a privately owned wetland along Millers Road off the Gatton-Esk Road.
As part of the educational experience, RedLeaf wetland ecologists provided a description of each wetland and its associated flora and fauna outlining the ecological and biological processes that promote biodiversity and the importance of wetland conservation as a whole. From Mr Wood’s extensive knowledge of waterbirds he was able to give everyone descriptions of the waterbird diversity including the expected range of species and their preferences within the aquatic habitats.
Notable historical records of bird species recorded in the Lockyer Valley were also discussed including the significance of a wetlands’ position within the broader landscape for biodiversity conservation. Many of the remaining natural wetlands in the Lockyer Valley are subject to disturbances including declining water quality, increasing siltation, removal of riparian vegetation and loss of aquatic habitats. These impacts and others can affect the heath of a wetland and its biodiversity.
Despite the rain on the day, everyone was able to have a look at waterbirds present at the wetlands which were a good representative of what might be expected to be found in the Lockyer Valley. Everyone on the tour seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves. At RedLeaf Environmental we are proud to support community events like this wetlands bus tour. The buzz shown by the participants made it very satisfying. What a great day!
Thanks to Kaori van Baalen from the LVRC for organising this special community event.