Vulnerable and endangered plants and wildlife are suffering too

The River Red Gum floodplain ecosystems sustain species like the Intermediate Egret, the Southern Bell Frog, the Slender Darling Pea and the hero of our Rescue Our Rivers logo, the Trout Cod. But these creatures and plants are having a hard time of it, because the rivers and floodplains they depend on have not had a good drink of water for over 13 years.

Vulnerable and endangered plants and wildlife are suffering too

For good reason, these forest wetlands are often referred to as the ‘The Kakadu of the South’. They provide important habitat for a number of threatened and endangered species. They have been found to be among the most productive and biologically diverse ecosystems in the Murray-Darling Basin, providing the essential breeding and feeding habitats for many species of waterbirds, fish, invertebrates and plants.

These forest wetlands are home to many thousands of migratory birds for weeks and months of each year. These waterbirds are listed for protection under international conventions. But these birds now visit less and less, and haven’t bred while they’ve been here, because there hasn’t been enough water left in the river and wetlands system to provide them with food.

There’s no two ways about it: the River Red Gum forests, rivers and wetlands are suffering. In some areas of the new parks, 75 percent of the red gum trees are already stressed, dead or dying; thirsty for a drink and impacted from years of degradation by destructive logging and grazing. It’s time they had a decent drink.

Have a read of our latest report that highlights the plight of just 13 flood-dependent species under threat from a lack of environmental water in the new River Red Gum parks. There are many more at risk. Securing water allocations will help ensure the survival of these ‘Thirsty 13’.