Terrestrial Ecology Projects

Ecological assessments of Lower Latrobe River Wetlands, Sale

Gippsland Lakes (waterways and wetlands), and the nationally threatened Green and Golden Bell Frog Litoria aurea (Ecology and Heritage Partners)

Our senior ecological consultants recently conducted detailed ecological assessments at a selection of proposed watering infrastructure locations, relating to the Lower Latrobe River Wetlands (Heart and Dowd Morass) in Sale, south-eastern Victoria.

The assessments were undertaken to assist West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (WGCMA) to examine options available to adapt or modernise current water control infrastructure, and/or to create new water control structures between the interfaces of the Latrobe River, Heart Morass and Dowd Morass.  The modernisation of existing systems or the inclusion of new infrastructure is aimed at allowing the WGCMA to more efficiently target and regulate environmental water allocations throughout the wetland systems.

Matthew Hatton (Senior Botanist) has extensive experience working across these complex wetland ecosystems.  Whilst studying his Honours, he investigated the ratio of clonal to non-clonal plants in several wetlands within the Gippsland Lakes region.  Matt continued to further this knowledge during his PhD where he examined the recruitment dynamics (both sexual and asexual reproduction) and population genetics of several Bolboschoenus (plant) species from contrasting wetlands throughout the Gippsland Lakes.

Having grown up in the area, Andrew Taylor (Consultant Zoologist) also has intimate knowledge of these wetland systems, and was eager to revisit the wetlands.  Andrew stated that:

'There were several highlights of our work. One of which was that we detected at least six calling male Green and Golden Bell Frog Litoria aurea within Long Waterhole, which represents the westerly limit of the species distributional range in Australia. Green and Golden Bell Frog is a nationally threatened species and it was pleasing to see that the individuals heard were in the exact location in which the species was recorded under an extreme flooding event several years prior, during Matt Hatton’s PhD'. 

The detection of the species provides reassuring evidence that the species still occupies this section of the wetland system, which is in contrast to other sites across the species' range, where frogs have either disappeared completely or have declined markedly'. 

Other interesting observations included a variety of significant bird species; White-bellied Sea-Eagle, Royal Spoonbill, Whiskered Tern, Hardhead, Musk Duck and Azure Kingfisher.

Our specialist team look forward to continuing to assist the WGCMA on this important and exciting project, particularly given the ecological challenges that arise from managing the intricate wetland system across the region.

For further information on the project, or if you require assistance with a wetland research project contact one of our experienced consultants on (03) 9377 0100 or  enquire@ehpartners.com.au.

Relevant links: 

Heart Morass, West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority wetlands and waterways

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