In 2006 after almost two years of negotiations, WET, thanks to the generous donations from FGA members and branches and with a significant contribution from the Hugh Williamson Foundation, purchased a 1,930-acre parcel at one of Australia's premier wetlands – the Heart Morass in Gippsland.
A few years down the track FGA member and branch donations, along with the help of the Hugh Williamson Foundation, allowed WET to acquire stage two of the Heart, taking the total area owned by the WET Trust to 2,647 acres.
Since that time, WET Trust volunteers have worked tirelessly to rehabilitate the degraded wetland, and the returns, benefits and achievements so far are something extraordinary.
The Heart Morass Rehabilitation Project truly is the jewel in the WET Trust crown, and in 2013, the WET finally acquired the third stage of the Heart. This last 550 acres offers tremendous environmental advantages, but most importantly, it gives the WET full ownership of the floodplain from the Sale Common to the State Game Reserve.
The WET can now control the management of the flood plain from the Sale Common to the State Game Reserve, which enables West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (WGCMA) to manage an environmental water regime without impacting on adjacent land owners. The Heart Morass is by no means a minor project. It is arguably one of Australia's largest and most demanding environmental activities involving the aggregation of over 25 parcels of land.
The progress that has been made at the Heart since WET took ownership is nothing short of extraordinary. All work has been undertaken by volunteer conservationists, and includes: revegetation, water quality management, track maintenance, flora and fauna monitoring, fencing, and pest, plant and animal control.
The results speak for themselves. This loyal group have taken a degraded wetland and turned it in to something that showcases hunters as conservationists and environmentalists to the broader community.
The improvements at the Heart are there for all to see, including a significant change in the water quality and vegetation. You can view the "before" and "after" photos to see the amazing work that has been accomplished.
WEST GIPPSLAND CATCHMENT MANAGEMENT AUTHORITY (WGCMA)
BUG BLITZ TRUST
TRUST FOR NATURE
HUGH WILLIAMSON FOUNDATION
If you wish to know more about the Heart Morass story, you can view, download, share, print the Wasteland to Wetland brochure here.