The Wetlands of the East Kimberley are among the most beautiful natural sights that Northern Territory and Western Australia have to offer.
Spanning over 400 km in both states, these government owned RAMSAR listed wetlands are home to a rich assortment of flora and fauna, including more than 280 species of birds, over 30,000 crocs, diversity of species of fish and turtles. This is an amazing dynamic wetland environment that has developed due to the flooding of Lake Argyle. The volume of wildlife make the wetlands a true wonder of this region.
Unfortunately, due to grazing from pastoral cattle, the beauty and safety of these wetlands is now at risk. Grazing cattle is destroying the habitats and nesting sites of many ground dwelling birds. Cattle are causing erosion throughout the wetlands and spreading a number of declared weed species including Parkinsoia and Mimosa. In the past a fenceline existed to prevent cattle from overgrazing the floodplains of Lake Argyle, but has not been maintained as an act of negligence.
A Gouldian Finch reserve also exists on Newry Station at the corner of the Victoria Highway, this area has been extensively degraded by cattle as a protective fenceline has not been maintained.
Grazing pressure of the wetlands has increased over recent years and has now reached extreme levels on Lissadell, Argyle Downs and Newry Stations. Among the species facing danger is the Yellow Chat, a critically endangered bird found only in certain wetlands of Australia. This and many other species are in danger of losing large areas of habitat to intensive grazing. The loss of soil/sediment also disrupts the growth patterns of wetland plants, leading to the overgrowth of weeds. The wetland country currently being grazed is crown land, not Pastoral Lease. There has been no environmental monitoring in this region and no management plan to protect these RAMSAR wetlands.