Moulting Lagoon Ramsar Site Ecological Character Description Introductory Notes

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Moulting Lagoon Ramsar Site
Ecological Character Description

Introductory Notes
This Ecological Character Description (ECD Publication) has been prepared in accordance with the National Framework and Guidance for Describing the Ecological Character of Australia’s Ramsar Wetlands (National Framework) (Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, 2008).
The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) prohibits actions that are likely to have a significant impact on the ecological character of a Ramsar wetland unless the Commonwealth Environment Minister has approved the taking of the action, or some other provision in the EPBC Act allows the action to be taken. The information in this ECD Publication does not indicate any commitment to a particular course of action, policy position or decision. Further, it does not provide assessment of any particular action within the meaning of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth), nor replace the role of the Minister or his delegate in making an informed decision to approve an action.

This ECD Publication is provided without prejudice to any final decision by the Administrative Authority for Ramsar in Australia on change in ecological character in accordance with the requirements of Article 3.2 of the Ramsar Convention.

While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the contents of this ECD are correct, the Commonwealth of Australia as represented by the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities does not guarantee and accepts no legal liability whatsoever arising from or connected to the currency, accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of the information in this ECD.
Note: There may be differences in the type of information contained in this ECD publication, to those of other Ramsar wetlands.

This work is largely based on a draft document produced by Francis Mowling and Helen Dunn in 2007.
The assistance of a number of people, from both government agencies and from the local community at Swansea and Coles Bay is acknowledged. The project advisory committee – Prof Alastair Richardson, Ian Houshold, Danielle Hardie, Imogen Birley, Stewart Blackhall, Christine Crawford, and Kayleen Allen – provided valuable input into the structure and review of the Ecological Character Description, as did reviewers Jennifer Hale, Rhonda Butcher and Lance Lloyd. Data was made available from Department of Primary Industries Parks, Water and Environment, Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute, Bureau of Meteorology. Community members, farmers, marine farmers, bird and fish enthusiasts gave freely of their time to offer information and some important historical insights into the nature of Moulting Lagoon, both prior to listing and since
Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations 1

Executive Summary 2

1. Introduction 7

1.1 Site Details 7

1.2 Relevant treaties, legislation and regulations 8

2. General Description 10

2.1 Location, regional context 10

2.2 Land tenure 11

2.3 Wetland types 11

2.4 Ramsar Listing Criteria 16

3. Components and Processes 20

3.1 Essential elements 21

3.2 Critical Components and Processes 30

4. Benefits and Services 47

4.1 Critical services 49

4.2 Cultural and provisioning, non-critical services 50

5. Limits of Acceptable Change 53

6. Threats to the Moulting Lagoon Ramsar Site 59

6.1 Climate change and water resource use 59

6.2 Catchment landuse – sedimentation and grazing 60

6.3 Acid sulphate soils 61

6.4 Recreational activities 61

6.5 Invasive species 62

6.6 Fire 63

6.5 Summary of threats 63

7. Current Ecological Character and Changes Since Designation 67

7.1 Site changes since listing 67

7.2 Current assessment of ecological character 67

8. Knowledge Gaps 70

9. Key Site Monitoring Needs 72

10 Communication, Education and Public Awareness (CEPA) Messages 75

10.1 Current CEPA activities 75

10.2 Proposed CEPA messages 75

11 Glossary 77

12 References and Bibliography 82

Appendix 1: Waterbird Species 86

Appendix 2: Plant Species 88

List of Abbreviations


Annual Average Rainfall


Bureau of Meteorology


China-Australia Migratory Bird Agreement


Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts


Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (formerly DPIW)


Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (formerly DEWHA)


East Asian-Australian Shorebird Site Network


Ecological Character Description


Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999


Highest astronomical tide


Lowest astronomical tide


Japan-Australia Migratory Bird Agreement


Mean annual runoff


Multi-Dimensional Scaling


Millennium Ecosystem Assessment


Parks and Wildlife Service


Republic of Korea-Australia Migratory Bird Agreement


Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute


Threatened Species Protection Act 1995 (Tas)


United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization


Water Information System of Tasmania

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