O’Kane’s Swamp is a private property wetland 3ha in size and is located 8km south-west of Yarrawonga in northern Victoria. Although it is small, it is an important shallow freshwater marsh wetland which has been identified as a brolga breeding site, as well as containing habitat that potentially could support other threatened waterbird species such as Australasian bittern and Australian painted snipe. This wetland used to fill regularly from rainfall and the landholders would enjoy seeing brolgas every year, but now it receives far less water and the birds are disappearing.
The landholder at O’Kanes Swamp loves brolgas and birds, and their family history is filled with memories of brolgas that would live at the swamp for many years, becoming part of this farming family. Our aim is to use water from the Environmental Water Trust to create suitable habitat to for brolgas and other threatened waterbirds to return to the swamp.
This project commenced in May 2018, with an ongoing watering program for the next ten years.
Water was delivered to O’Kanes Swamp through existing channels on the landholder’s property in May 2018, and it was the the first such environmental watering event for this site. The environmental water program aims to mimic the historical rainfall events that would have resulted in the wetland filling and providing habitat for waterbirds. Regular monitoring events focus on waterbird diversity and abundance.
There are good signs that improvements to vegetation and habitat are already being achieved,and more vegetation complexity is expected over time. Early results have included new growth of plants such as common spike-rush (Eleocharis acuta), rushes, and groundcover species such as joyweed and sneezeweed. All these plant species will help create a more diverse cover of vegetation which is then used by birds in different ways, such as for food, hiding and breeding.