In 2013, coastal saltmarsh was recognised as a nationally-threatened vegetation community under the federal Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999). Northern Tasmania boasts significant areas of coastal saltmarsh, often associated with estuaries and coastal wetlands and ranging in size from less than 1 hectare to over 60 hectares. The plant species within coastal saltmarsh vary greatly and include herbland, rushes, sedges and grasses, and characteristic chenopod shrubs. Although important for stimulating the productivity of estuaries and wetlands through nutrient cycling, and being better at sequestering carbon than equivalent forested areas, saltmarshes are often overlooked for their value and contribution to commercial, recreational and biodiversity outcomes.
Threats to saltmarsh include:
- direct damage (stock trampling, vehicles),
- altered hydrology (drainage, barrages),
- sea level rise (combined with limited retreat options),
- inappropriate fire regimes,
- pollution (including nutrients),
- weeds and
- soil disturbance (especially acid sulfate soils and spoil dumping).
NRM North has partnered with UTAS to undertake the following as part of the coastal saltmarsh protection project:
- Coastal saltmarsh mapping
- A mapping report accompanying the mapped layer explaining characteristics attributed to each saltmarsh location
- ‘An Atlas of Coastal Saltmarsh Wetlands in Northern Tasmania’
- A number of interpretive panels designed for communication materials, including signage
- A community-based saltmarsh monitoring guide
- ‘A Guide to the Plants of Tasmanian Saltmarsh Wetlands’
- A Tasmanian Saltmarsh Wetland Plants Checklist
- A Tasmanian Saltmarsh Wetland Birds Checklist
- A Tasmanian Saltmarsh Human Impacts Checklist
- A Tasmanian Saltmarsh Wetland Birds Poster
- Saltmarsh App
Some of these materials are yet to be released.
How you can get involved:
NRM North coordinates saltmarsh surveys at several locations across northern Tasmania and is seeking individuals and community groups keen to be involved. These surveys are part of an ongoing project to map and monitor Tasmanian saltmarsh habitats and their bird and plant inhabitants. No expertise is required and all training and survey materials are provided. Contact us if you would like to find out more or become involved.
In addition to this, NRM North is seeking to undertake on-ground works to directly protect and rehabilitate coastal saltmarsh within the Northern Region, on both private and public land. If you think you have coastal saltmarsh on your property, or are concerned about your local saltmarsh, please contact NRM North to discuss what options may be available.