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Wetland management tools and guides

Wetlands provide a range of benefits through the provision of water and forage for stock, flood mitigation, nutrient and sediment transformation, and biodiversity.

Industry sectors, local governments and private landowners play an important role in the sustainable management of wetland systems as most wetlands in Queensland exist on private property.

The WetlandInfo website provides a range of valuable information that can help with wetland management at a property level. This page gives links to resources that directly relate to property management and provides a list of tools for property managers.

If you know of other information that is useful for wetland management at a property level, use the feedback link below.

An electric fence, in the foreground, keeps cattle out of the wetland in Conondale SEQ Photo by Ian Layden

Quick facts

is what one dairy farmer saved by reusing effluent for irrigation. This in turn can help increase water quality for the stock. Other benefits wetlands provide include flood buffering, water storage, nutrient removal, water purification, erosion control and carbon storage. 


Guidelines and reports

Title Industry Year of publication Description
Great Barrier Reef vulnerability assessments All 2016 As an integral part of the Great Barrier Reef Biodiversity Conservation Strategy 2013, vulnerability assessments are being undertaken on habitats, species and groups of species identified as being potentially at risk. These assessments will help inform the strategy's management priorities.
Adaptive management of Ramsar wetlands All 2013 The project adopts a generic approach allowing the framework to be transferred to other wetlands, including Ramsar-listed wetlands, supplied by rivers ranging from highly regulated to free flowing. The integration of management with science allows key indicators to be monitored that will inform management and promote increasingly informed decisions. The project involved a multi-disciplinary team of scientists and managers working on one of the more difficult challenges for Australia, exacerbated by increasing impacts of climate change on flows and inundation patterns.
Wetland plants of the Townsville—Burdekin floodplain All 2014 User friendly illustrated field guide that offers comprehensive information on the wetland plants of the area. The useful guide was published by the Lower Burdekin Landcare Association in partnership with the Burdekin Shire Council, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) through the Queensland Wetlands Program, NQ Dry Tropics Regional Landcare Facilitator Program, Wilmar Sugar and the RPS Group Townsville.
Why do Fish Need to Cross the Road? Fish Passage Requirements for Waterway Crossings All 2003 A NSW Fisheries guideline. This document aims to minimise impacts on fish passage and general aquatic wildlife by providing practical guidelines to those involved in the planning, design, construction and maintenance of waterway crossings.
A guide to managing and restoring wetlands in Western Australia All 2013

The guide's chapters include Planning for wetland management; Understanding wetlands; Managing wetlands; Monitoring wetlands; and Protecting wetlands

Nutrients and herbicides in groundwater flows to the Great Barrier Reef All 2012 This report works towards a key objective of the Reef Water Quality Protection Plan to reduce the amounts of nutrients and herbicides entering the Reef. It provides an up-to-date review and synthesis of current knowledge of groundwater transport of nutrients and herbicides to the Reef, from aquifers across the Wet Tropics, Lower Burdekin and Mackay–Whitsunday areas.
Handbook 7—Managing the floodplain—a guide to best practice in flood risk management in Australia All 2013

This handbook provides advice on the management of flooding within the floodplains and catchments of waterways.

It aims to provide advice to those with roles in understanding and managing flood risk and its consequences on the community. This may include emergency management practitioners, flood risk managers, land-use planners, engineers, hydrologists, infrastructure providers, and policy and decision makers, within government and the broader industry. It aims to inform national best practice, and State and Territory guidance.
Identification of High Conservation Value Aquatic Ecosystems (HCVAE) in the Queensland Murray Darling Basin through targeted collection of wetland inventory data across the northern basin—Technical report All 2011 The project was undertaken as part of the Queensland Wetlands Program – Phase 2. The project collected and collated data for 62 wetlands. The wetland sites were predominantly freshwater non-riverine wetlands with five riverine wetlands sampled opportunistically. The data was used to identify and classify areas of high conservation value.
Waterbody Management Guideline Local Government 2013

Assists local governments in South East Queensland to manage waterbodies. The guideline was commissioned by Redland City Council and speaks to all departments and disciplines within local government involved in managing waterbodies.

Grazing for Healthy Coastal Wetlands: Guidelines for managing coastal wetlands in grazing systems Grazing 2011

Provides graziers, landowners and extension officers with advice and information

Wetland Management Handbook: Farm Management Systems guidelines for managing wetlands in intensive agriculture Agriculture 2009

Contains information and guidelines to help producers and extension officers manage Queensland’s wetlands in intensive agricultural production systems. Follows the Farm Management System approach to managing agricultural businesses

Covers such topics as nutrient, erosion and sediment management; spray-drift management; management for fisheries values; weed and pest animal management and constructed wetlands design

Queensland Wetland Definition and Delineation Guideline

Part A

Part B

All 2010

Part A—Guide to existing wetland definitions and how to apply the Queensland Wetlands Program’s definition.

Part B—Delineation and mapping guideline
Queensland Wetland Buffer Planning Guideline All 2011

Use in palustrine, lacustrine, estuarine and marine wetland systems. Also suitable for buffers around riverine and artificial wetlands. Targeted at those with expert knowledge of wetlands

Wetland Rehabilitation Guidelines for the Great Barrier Reef catchment All 2008

Developed to assist wetland managers, landholders, local government and Natural Resource Management bodies to undertake effective wetland rehabilitation. Incorporates existing research and experience including works undertaken in Queensland

Although developed for the Great Barrier Reef area principles and ideas can be applied more broadly

Guidelines and template for preparing a wetland management plan All 2012

Produced for landholders engaged in grazing and dryland cropping in 2 of Queensland’s inland river basins, the Queensland Murray-Darling and the Bulloo

Applicable across all regions of Australia
Instream structure inventory program



The Inventory of Instream Structures demonstrates the impacts of structures which threaten the health of local fish populations that support important recreational and commercial fisheries and associated wetland functions. The guidelines and report feature a Response Action Plan (RAP) that nominates specific actions to protect wetland values.

Conceptual models and information on wetland types All Various

Wetlands in Queensland have been classified into types. Conceptual models describe the current scientific understanding of the ecology and the components and processes that characterise these wetland types.

These models can be used to inform management and underpin research and monitoring. 

Environmental value reports online All Various

This online portal is used for querying information on specific environmental values, by location.

Report types:

  • matters of state environmental significance
  • regional ecosystems
  • terrestrial biodiversity and aquatic conservation values.
Framework for evaluating aquatic ecosystem connectivity All 2013 The connectivity framework describes a process for systematically and transparently working through the connectivity of relevant functions of an aquatic ecosystem, and provides a way of understanding and applying connectivity at any level of spatial scale for any management outcome.
Walking the landscape—A whole-of-system framework for understanding and mapping environmental processes and values All 2013

The 'Walking the landscape' framework integrates existing data with expert knowledge to develop a whole-of-system map linked to conceptual models showing how the environment functions. The method addresses one of the major criticisms of broadscale mapping—the lack of integration of knowledge from local experts into datasets used by decision makers.

SmartCane Riparian and Wetland areas on Cane Farms Best Management Practice Guidelines Sugar 2008 The SmartCane booklets were developed as a reference for growers and their advisors to demonstrate the commitment of the industry to profitable, yet sustainable sugarcane production.

Planting Wetlands and Dams

A Practical Guide to Wetland Design, Construction and Propagation

All 2009

Printed copy only available

Author: Nick Romanowski

Publisher: Landlinks Press

Why Rehabilitate Urban River Systems Urban 2006

This paper examines the triple bottom line (economic, social and environmental) factors that influence decision making with respect to urban stream rehabilitation and management and considers their relative value and importance.

Incentive Measures for Conserving Freshwater Ecosystems All 2001 Developed to help private landholders to manage their wetland so as to retain the ecosystem services they provide
Wetlands in a dry land: understanding for management All 1997 Proceedings from the workshop
Fish habitat guidelines Fishing Various Range of guidelines and information

Soil indicators of Queensland wetlands: Statewide assessment and methodology

All 2010

Provides details of assessment methods for wetland soils in Queensland

Soil Indicators of Queensland Wetlands: Field Guide All 2008 The field guide has been developed to assist in the field identification of wetland soil indicators in Queensland.

Riparian Land Management Technical Guidelines

Vol 1 and Vol 2

All Various Volume 1 Part A provides the technical information on which management recommendations are based. The information is provided to remind, update or prompt the professional land manager, adviser or government officer about the technical issues that need to be considered. Part B provides a review of legislation
relating to riparian management in each State and Territory.
Volume 2 contains the management strategies themselves. Each guideline can be used on its own by practitioners interested in particular objectives, but readers are encouraged to look at all the guidelines to see if additional objectives can be achieved.
Best Practice Guidelines for the Control of Stormwater Pollution from Building Sites Urban/development Various A practical guide to best practice techniques to minimise stormwater pollution from building sites by the Gold Coast Council

Fact sheets

Title Industry Year of publication Description
Wetlands of the Great Barrier Reef catchments All 2014

Promotes the values of the wetlands in the catchments of the Great Barrier Reef. It recognises wetlands as part of the broader landscape connecting catchments to the Reef and promotes the wise management of wetlands as they are vital for protecting the world recognised values of the Great Barrier Reef. It encourages working in partnership with landowners to achieve the best outcomes as many wetlands are located on private property.

Ramsar fact sheets—a wetland of international importance

All Various A series of fact sheets on Queensland’s Ramsar sites—wetlands of international significance. These fact sheets provide information on the individual sites, their location, and ecological and cultural values.
Sediment basins All 2013 Provides advice to extension officers and land managers on the use of sediment basins to improve run-off water quality, specific to coastal agriculture in the wet/dry tropics region between central and Far North Queensland.
Buffer strips All 2013 Provides advice to extension officers and land managers on the use of buffer strips to improve farm run-off water quality, specific to coastal agriculture in the wet/dry tropics region between central and Far North Queensland.
Vegetated swales and drains All 2013 Provides advice to extension officers and land owners on the use of vegetated swales and drains to improve farm run-off water quality, specific to coastal agriculture in the wet/dry tropics region between central and Far North Queensland.
Farm run-off treatment systems—toolkit All 2013 Provides advice to extension officers and land managers on planning and designing farm run-off treatment trains, specific to coastal agriculture in the wet/dry tropics region between central and Far North Queensland.
Constructed (treatment) wetlands All 2013 Provides advice to extension officers and land managers on the use of constructed (treatment) wetlands to improve farm run-off water quality, specific to coastal agriculture in the wet/dry tropics region between central and Far North Queensland.
Wetland management profiles All Various

Designed to provide information about the distribution, ecology, cultural values, conservation status, and threats to and management of particular wetland types and wetland regional ecosystems (REs) within Queensland.

Queensland Wetlands Program (QWP) fact sheets All Various Current and past QWP project fact sheets
Wetlands of south-western Queensland All Various Developed before the Queensland Wetlands Program existed so there are differences in the typology used to classify the wetlands e.g. floodplains are not considered wetlands under the Queensland Wetlands Program wetland definition, although are important to the function of some wetlands
Planning for River Restoration—fact sheet All Various This Fact Sheet in a series dealing with the management of rivers and riparian land.
Streambank Stability—fact sheet All Various This Fact Sheet in a series dealing with the management of rivers and riparian land.

Case studies

Title Industry Year of publication Description
Canegrowers virtual bus tour series




  • Business management & whole farm planning (Integrated planning, Technology & farm management, Integrated planning, Good practice good for waterways and Nitrogen trials)
  • Targeting nutrients & ag chems (Fertilising, Sediment management, Zonal mud, Mill ash, Nitrogen from legumes, Compost)
  • Water management (Irrigation and Drainage)
  • Biodiversity management (Example Wetlands, Constructed wetlands, Natural Wetlands, Research)
  • Monitoring
  • Climate variability
Blacks Beach constructed wetland video All 2014 Highlights the design elements required to help achieve water quality improvements when building these structures. The example used is from a local urban development in Mackay, but the information is also relevant to constructed wetlands in an agricultural setting to help improve water quality leaving the farm.
Beef cattle: Managing frontage country and wetlands Beef 2014

Shows how David and Dianne Hood have been managing their Kirkton property in the Burdekin catchment since 2004 to improve beef production and enhance local wetlands. New infrastructure has allowed them to better manage the herd, allowing wet season spelling and more effective weed control. This has led to improved land condition and better management of frontage country, with benefits to adjoining wetlands.

Managing water for the farm and environment with Jeppesen Farming Company Sugar 2014

Describes how Tony and Mandy Jeppesen, and sons Ben and Sam, manage a cane farm in the Whitsunday region of North Queensland. The Jeppesen family have implemented changes across the farm to improve water quality and management over the past decade.

On-farm wetland demonstration site–Lower Burdekin and video All 2013 Shows how Burdekin cane farmer John Quagliata demonstrates how the rehabilitation of a wetland on his property will benefit his cane farming enterprise and also the quality of water entering the local waterway.
De Moleyns Lagoon rehabilitation and monitoring project and video All 2013/2014

Shows the great work occurring at a natural wetland reserve located in the Pioneer Valley, west of Mackay. Weeds and water quality are targeted to manage in the area and all partners are working together to help improve the situation at de Moleyns Lagoon and its catchment area.

Conceptual Model Case Study series All Various

Conceptual model case studies for selected wetlands in Queensland. Site-specific information and science on a wide variety of wetland issues. Informs and supports management. The technique used for developing the conceptual models can be implemented by local wetland managers anywhere in Queensland.

Banana farming for healthier wetlands Bananas 2011

Wetland management case studies

Case study: Bananas Bananas 2011

Wetland management case studies

Managing stock for wetland health and production




Wetland management case studies

Ginger production Ginger 2008

Wetland management case studies

Nursery industry




Wetland management case studies

Cane production Sugar 2008

Wetland management case studies

Cotton production Cotton 2008

Wetland management case studies

Dairy production Dairy 2008

Wetland management case studies

Horticulture producer goes nuts for spot spraying Horticulture 2011

Reef Water Quality Protection Plan case studies

Sugarcane farmer of the year reducing run-off

Sugar 2011 Reef Water Quality Protection Plan case studies

Intertidal vegetation rehabilitation All Various

Kooragang Wetland Rehabilitation Project

Freshwater wetlands rehabilitation

All Various Kooragang Wetland Rehabilitation Project
Riparian vegetation rehabilitation All Various Kooragang Wetland Rehabilitation Project
Rainforest rehabilitation All Various Kooragang Wetland Rehabilitation Project
Wetland soil case studies All 2010

Wetland soil indicators were tested in 58 wetlands, representing a range of wetland classes, climatic zones and biogeographical regions. Thirty-nine case studies have been developed.

Wetland Buffer Case Study: Lake Broadwater All 2013 Demonstrates how the Queensland Wetlands Program Buffer Planning Guideline has been used to develop a buffer for Lake Broadwater in the Condamine-Balonne catchment of the Murray-Darling Basin.
Wetland management case studies All Various 22 case studies based on the Great Barrier Reef Coastal Wetlands Protection Program Pilot Program commissioned by the Australian Government to deliver on-ground actions for the sustainable management of priority wetlands in the Great Barrier Reef catchment.
Establishing a rotational grazing system in box-mulga country, Wallam Creek Grazing 2013

Boosting the capacity to optimise ground cover and grazing business outcomes by subdividing paddocks into many smaller units, each served by off-stream watering points. Environmental benefits include reduced soil erosion and improved condition of the riparian zone.

Managing water and grazing in Warrego floodplain and mulga country Grazing 2013 Complementary strategies to manage water and animals in grazing enterprise. By increasing control of flowing water and livestock habits, benefits have occurred for sustainable production, biodiversity and the condition of riverine and other wetland systems.


Title Industry Year of publication Description
Hydro-climate tool All 2006

Explains how satellite images are used to represent inundation in the development of wetland mapping.

Information can be used to guide ecological assessments and aquatic connectivity studies. It provides a selection of imagery, based on inundation extents.

WetlandSummary All 2012 Maps, statistics, reports, species lists, conceptual models and more based on your area of choice
Managing riparian areas on dairy farms Dairy 2006 Economic assessment tools

Assessment of sub-surface (reed-bed) treatment wetlands All 2006 Economic assessment tools

Queensland Flood Reconstruction Authority Mapping All 2011 Flood check map and more.


Title Industry Year of publication Description
Water by Design Urban/development

Although focused at urban areas principles i.e. water run-off management can be used more broadly

Various Capacity building program that supports Water Sensitive Urban Design in South East Queensland.

They provide, fact sheets, reports, training, discussion forums and more.

Wetland International—Oceania All Various Support to NRM regional bodies and wetland managers in the management of important wetlands

Reports, facts sheets and more

Reef Water Quality Protection Plan All Various Case studies, reports and more
Funding opportunities and links All Various Links to another page on WetlandInfo
Natural Resources SA Murray Darling Basin All Various Reports, information sheets and more
Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge (TRaCK) All Various Publications, images, research and more

Sugar Research and Development Corporation

Sugar Various Reports, facts sheets and more.
Murray-Darling Basin Authority Agriculture Various Fact sheets and information on farming in the Murray-Darling Basin
WetlandCare Australia All Various Range of facts sheets, reports, services including
e-water All Various Case studies, publications, scientific information
River Landscapes All Various Projects, publications, tools and training
Queensland Farmers' Federation (QFF) Agriculture Various QFF provides information on different types of farming practices, fact sheets, reports, training opportunities, media releases and more.
Cotton catchment communities CRC

Cotton Various Reports, fact sheets and other information
CANEGROWERS Sugar Various Case studies, best management practice, fact sheets, tools, training, classifieds and more

Growcom Horticulture Various Case studies, best management practice, training, reports and more

Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (Fisheries) - Habitats Fisheries Various Policies, guidelines, information, research opportunities and more
Land and Water Australia All Various Case studies, fact sheets, tools, research programs and reports
Clearwater Urban Various Training, events, tools, fact sheets, reports, guidelines and more

Last updated: 18 November 2015

This page should be cited as:

Wetland management tools and guides, WetlandInfo 2014, Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, Queensland, viewed 7 April 2016, <>.

Queensland Government
WetlandInfo   —   Department of Environment and Heritage Protection