Should you graze wetlands or leave them unstocked? And then, at what stocking rate, for how long and at what time of the year? A basic starting point is that the continued survival of native plants depends on them being able to complete their life cycle, including that they have the opportunity to add seed to the seedbank.
Grazing can be used in some circumstances to reduce weed competition where the weedy plant, for example phalaris, would otherwise dominate the community. Grazing can also create a variable canopy structure (some bare patches and some more tufted) which promotes niches for a greater range of species to grow. One local method is where sheep are brought onto the swamp in late summer, after the native species have finished flowering.
The GHCMA has recently produced a series of six wetland fact sheets. These give an easy to follow and very clear overview of wetland features and how to look after them. They can be accessed here, as can other information sheets on the frogs, plants and animals that live in our wetlands.
Wetlands can co-exist with appropriate agricultural practices
In depth wetland information
This handbook contains a summary of wetland characteristics and names and pictures of many native plant species that are found in wetlands in our region.
Reference: Bayes, E. and Cook D 20xx. Seasonal herbaceous wetlands. Identification and management handbook. Goulburn Broken Catchment and North East Catchment Management Authorities.
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The webpage A guide to livestock grazing on wetlands contains a link to a detailed booklet (ARI technical report 265) with management tools for making informed decisions about how and when to let stock onto swamps.
Reference: Peters, G. et al., 2015. A Guide to Managing Livestock Grazing in Victoria’s Wetlands. Decision Framework and Guidelines — Version 1.0. Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research Technical Report Series No. 265.
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DELWP offers a range of wetland management publications. They can be accessed here.
The Arthur Rylah Institute is undertaking a program of research into wetlands in Victoria. Different aspects of the research can be accessed here.