Ringarooma Ramsar Project

The Ringarooma Ramsar Project aimed to protect the ecological character of the Flood Plain Lower Ringarooma River Ramsar site by improving and protecting the condition of the site’s floodplain, wetlands and swamp forest. The project came to an end in June 2023.


Water sampling and vegetation surveys improved our knowledge and formed the foundation for planning the most effective actions to protect this diverse wetland system. Prioritised on-ground land management actions to be implemented as part of the project aimed to improve the quality of surface water draining from dairy and grazing operations to the wetlands and remove infestations of high-threat environmental weeds from, and immediately adjacent to the site.

Baseline water quality sampling for Ringarooma_web.jfif

Baseline water quality sampling forms the foundation for planning.

Ringarooma RAMSAR from the air

The Ringarooma Ramsar site from the air.


The Flood Plain Lower Ringarooma River wetlands were designated a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention in November 1982. The site is a complex wetland, coastal and estuarine ecosystem, incorporating both reserves and private agricultural land. The site includes the Boobyalla Inlet to the north and a mobile sand dune system and provides habitat for important and nationally-recognised threatened species.

Habitat transforming weeds, particularly gorse, willow, blackberry and boxthorn, are a major threat to the dune wetlands and native Melaleuca vegetation. Inappropriate land use in areas immediately adjacent to the wetland, such as stock and vehicle access, cause damage to the wetlands and Melaleuca vegetation, particularly at the margin, which may create long term impacts for the Ramsar site.

'Agricultural land forms part of this internationally listed wetland site, which also encompasses freshwater, estuarine and coastal ecosystems.'

Ringarooma_Ag land web.jpg


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Restoring the ecological character of the Ringarooma - Case Study

A four-year project aimed at protecting and restoring the ecological character of the site concluded in June 2023. The project was established to reduce threats to the condition of the wetland vegetation communities, and to improve water quality runoff from agricultural properties.

The final year of the project saw the completion of over 120 hectares of weed management work within the Ramsar site, addressing gorse, Spanish heath, foxglove, blackberry, and crack willow infestations. The eradication of crack willow from Fosters Marshes was particularly significant, with over 300 willow trees treated among native wetland vegetation. NRM North’s Biodiversity Program Manager Kate Thorn said weed control outcomes were rewarding given the difficulties of working in the area.

Ms Thorn said it was fortunate that contractors were flexible with their availability and willing to tackle challenges accessing the site.

Hardwickes Creek in the Ringarooma Ramsar

Hardwickes Creek in the Ringarooma Ramsar wetland complex, one of NRM North’s water quality sampling sites.

“The project has been pretty challenging, working in a large and remote wetland area, particularly as we had almost three years of La Nina conditions across the 4-year project,” said Ms Thorn.


Recommendations from a Water Quality Improvement Plan developed early in the project were implemented in collaboration with landholders immediately upstream of the Ramsar site. These included excluding livestock from over 6 kilometres of waterways to reduce the impact of agricultural runoff to the wetland ecosystems. One of these projects also protected over 40 hectares of existing native vegetation along the waterways, while another saw over 2,800 seedlings planted to revegetate tributaries of Hardwickes Creek and Gincase Creek to improve buffering of waterways flowing into the Ramsar site from agricultural land.

While the project has achieved some great outcomes on the ground, there is more to be done. The Water Quality Improvement Plan and Vegetation Management Plan developed and reviewed throughout the project provide an excellent basis for future planning and management of the site and its catchment.


This project is supported by NRM North, through funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Program.


This project is supported by NRM North, through funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Program.