Appendix B1 - Matter-specific Standards for Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar wetlands)
Recommended National Environmental Standards
Appendix B to the Final Report sets out in detail 4 recommended National Environmental Standards that were developed by the Review following consultation with science, Indigenous, environmental and business stakeholders and with input from technical experts.
Wetlands of international importance are globally recognised important wetlands and listed under the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention), or declared by the Minister to be a declared Ramsar wetland under section 16 of the EPBC Act.
The ecological character of each Ramsar wetland is maintained through the conservation, management and wise use of the wetland, having regard to ecologically sustainable development.
The conservation, management and wise use of Ramsar wetlands is supported by actions, decisions, plans and policies that:
International commitments relating to wetlands
Australia is a signatory to the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat (the ‘Ramsar Convention’). Signatories to the convention agreed to halt and, where possible, reverse, the worldwide loss of wetlands and to conserve those that remain through wise use and management.
Australian wetlands database - information about Australia’s Ramsar wetlands, including location and boundary maps, Ramsar Information Sheets and Ecological Character Descriptions.
This Standard should be applied in conjunction with the Overarching MNES Standard, relevant matter-specific Standards and other National Environmental Standards.
Cumulative impacts: the collective impacts from all actions, decisions, plans, policies and other pressures, measured against a stipulated baseline. See Significant Impact Guidelines 1.2 (2013), Significant Impact Guidelines 1.3 (2013) and Reef 2050 Plan: Cumulative Impact Management Policy (2018) for further explanation of the concept of cumulative impacts.
Detrimental change: a change which results in:
- areas of the wetland being destroyed or substantially modified
- a substantial and measurable change in the hydrological regime of the wetland, for example, a substantial change to the volume, timing, duration and frequency of ground and surface water flows to and within the wetland
- the habitat or lifecycle of native species, including invertebrate fauna and fish species, dependent upon the wetland being seriously affected
- a substantial and measurable change in the water quality of the wetland – for example, a substantial change in the level of salinity, pollutants, or nutrients in the wetland, or water temperature which may adversely impact on biodiversity, ecological integrity, social amenity or human health, or
- an invasive species that is harmful to the ecological character of the wetland being established (or an existing invasive species being spread) in the wetland.
See Significant Impact Guidelines 1.1: Matters of National Environmental Significance (2013).
Ecological character: the combination of the ecosystem components, processes and benefits/services that characterise a wetland at a given point in time (Ramsar Resolution IX.1 Annex A para 15). The ecological character of each Australian Ramsar wetland is as described in its Ecological Character Description and Ramsar Information Sheet.
The Australian wetlands database provides information about Australia’s Ramsar wetlands. Some Ramsar wetlands have catchments that cross state or territory borders. Catchment mapping is available.
Ramsar Management Principles: defined in regulation 10.02 of the EPBC Regulations.
Ramsar wetland(s): includes the areas within the boundary of the listed wetland, and its buffer zone (as relevant). The Australian wetlands database provides information about location and boundaries of Australia’s Ramsar wetlands. Some Ramsar wetlands have catchments that cross state or territory borders. Catchment mapping is available.