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Ramsar listed Wetlands of International Importance



Read more about shorebirds and mudflats in the series
Migratory shorebirds and tidal flats

  How does a site become a Ramsar listed wetland?
The Ramsar International Convention was one of many developed through the late 1960s, mainly from European interests in migratory waterbirds. With the intention to conserve wetland sites used by migrating birds, the convention was formalised in 1971 in Ramsar, Iran. Australia was one of the first signatories. A Ramsar listing requires the ecological character of the site to be maintained as well as a commitment to the wise usage of the site. The sites cover a wide range of uses, including human activity, so a Ramsar listing does not necessarily mean that the site is protected (that is up to individual governments). In Australia many are protected since they are part of national parks but are on private or leasehold land.

  Roebuck Bay (series) on the Kimberley coast
Roebuck Bay with its silky mudflats and huge tidal range was once the estuary formed where the mighty Fitzroy River spilled into the Indian Ocean. Its antiquity can be seen in the fossilised dinosaur footprints that march up out of the mud flats, to be hidden beneath the border of red Pindan cliffs. The great diversity of benthic life in the mudflats as well as attracting many thousands of local birds and migratory shorebirds from the Arctic serves as a magnet for a host of scientists quaintly described as Mudbashers who are bent on identifying the creatures in the mud and documenting new species and unravelling the complex relationships in this web of life Roebuck Bay is a key nonbreeding season location for shorebirds who travel the global flyway that stretches north to the Yellow Sea and on to the Arctic.

  Werribee Wetlands Victoria
One of the largest sewage treatment works in existence, far thinking engineers well over over a century ago have left a legacy that not only still serves the human population of Melbourne well, but provides a wonderfully rich and diverse wetland habitat for local and migratory birds and other wildlife.

  Saemangeum mudflats South Korea
From the archives now. This is a record of the dismal tale of the seawall and drying of the vast Saemangeum mudflats. It has been a dismal outcome for countless thousands of migratory shorebirds as well as for the local human population. A decade on, the area that comprises the destroyed former vibrant mudflats remains a wasteland. A history lesson that remains ignored. Saemangeum sadly never succeeded in being granted Ramsar status by the South Korean government

  The thirsty Coorong

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