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Gold Coast celebrates World Wetlands Day at Elanora Wetlands Bushland Restoration

Media Release
Tuesday, 29th January 2008
World Wetlands Day February 2nd 2008

Gold Coast residents are invited to assist with the restoration of the wetlands at Elanora to mark World Wetlands Day, Saturday, 2nd February from 8am til 10am followed by morning tea. The Elanora Bushland Restoration project has been operating for many years under Gecko's Walk with Wildlife program, with Tom Fletcher, leader of the program, running a bi-monthly bushcare program with the support of Gold Coast City Council.

This year is the 37th anniversary of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar
Convention) in Ramsar, Iran, on 2 February 1971, the theme of which for 2008 is "Healthy Wetlands, Healthy People."

"Wetlands are vital to Australia," said Mr Fletcher. "They protect our shores from wave action, reduce the impacts of floods, absorb pollutants and provide habitat for animals and plants and are some of the world's most beautiful places."

"Unfortunately, there are very few wetlands left in the Gold Coast, with just the Coombabah wetland at Helensvale and the coastal areas of the Moreton Bay Marine Park down to South Stradbroke Island being Ramsar listed," said Mr Fletcher. "The Elanora wetlands area was previously used as a dump by Council, but we've cleaned it up and restored it over the years."

"Wetlands are important in other ways as well. They purify our water and are important for recreational activities," said Mr Fletcher. "They form nurseries for fish and other freshwater and marine life and, because of this, they are critical to Australia's commercial and recreational fishing industries. They are also essential resting places for migratory birds from around the world."

The international theme for World Wetlands Day 2008 is Healthy Wetlands, Healthy People. This is in recognition that healthy wetlands reduce disease and improve water quality from pollutants such as sewage and stormwater runoff.

World Wetlands Day was first celebrated in 1997. Since then government agencies, non-government organisations and community groups have celebrated World Wetlands Day by undertaking actions to raise public awareness of wetland values and benefits and promote the conservation and wise use of wetlands. These activities include seminars, nature walks, festivals, launches of new policies, announcement of new
Ramsar sites, newspaper articles, radio interviews and wetland rehabilitation.

Participants at Saturday's bushcare should bring water, wear a hat and/or sunscreen and closed shoes. Gloves, tools and other equipment will be provided. A responsible adult must accompany all children.

Directions to the wetlands - from the Gold coast Highway Palm Beach, enter Tallebudgera Drive and proceed west.  At the end of Tallebudgera Drive, turn into the bitumen lane and thence left under the Pacific Motorway.  You will then be directly facing the entrance to Elanora Wetlands Habitat.

For further information about this important issue, please contact the following at Gecko on 5534-1412 or Tom Fletcher 5598-4145 or Sheila Davis 5530-6600; 0423-305-478

Gecko - Gold Coast and Hinterland Environment Council,
139 Duringan Street, Currumbin Qld
Phone: (07) 5534 1412 Fax: (07) 5534 1401 Email: info |AT| gecko org au