An Ecological Character Description describes the ecological character of a Ramsar wetland at the time of its listing as a Wetland of International Importance. Ecological Character Descriptions are a fundamental tool for site managers as they can be used to inform management planning and action as well as providing guidance on site monitoring requirements to detect changes in the ecological character of a site.
The Floodplain Lower Ringarooma River Ramsar site is located on the far north-east coast of Tasmania, nine kilometres north-west of the township of Gladstone, between Cape Portland and Waterhouse Point and within the municipality of Dorset. At its northern edge the site includes the Boobyalla Inlet and a mobile sand dune system. It is a complex wetland, coastal and estuarine ecosystem which provides habitat for important and nationally threatened species. The site covers approximately 3519 hectares and extends about eight kilometres inland. The majority of the site is private (freehold) land, with a small area located within Cameron Regional Reserve and a Public Reserve along the coastal strip.
The Ecological Character Description for the Floodplain Lower Ringarooma River Ramsar site identifies limits of acceptable change which describe the range of variation within which key aspects of the ecology of the site may vary, without representing a change in ecological character. Limits of acceptable change for the Floodplain Lower Ringarooma River Ramsar site have been proposed for all critical components, processes and services based on existing data. Knowledge gaps and monitoring requirements are also identified, to provide adequate baseline assessments for future comparisons. The document also describes the Ramsar listing criteria met by the site.
The ECD notes that dairy farming occurs in parts of the Ramsar site, and landholders have developed management plans for the areas concerned. An overall Ramsar Site Management Plan has also been developed for the site. Dairy cattle grazing on a large area in the centre of the site has ceased and the area set aside for regeneration. Information in the Ecological Character Description will help promote conservation and wise use of the wetland resources of the site.
Further information on what Ecological Character Descriptions are and how critical components, processes and services are identified is available in the National Framework and Guidance for Describing the Ecological Character of Australian Ramsar Wetlands – Module 2 of the National Guidelines for Ramsar Wetlands – Implementing the Ramsar Convention in Australia.