About the document
An Ecological Character Description describes the ecological character of a wetland at the time of its listing as a Wetland of International Importance. Ecological Character Descriptions are a fundamental management tool for site managers, providing the basis of management planning and action as well as including guidance on site monitoring requirements to detect changes in the ecological character of a site.
The Little Waterhouse Lake Ramsar site is located in the Waterhouse Conservation Area on the north-east coast of Tasmania, about 2 kilometres from Bass Strait, and is managed by the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service. Little Waterhouse Lake is a coastal freshwater lagoon about 10 hectares in area, running in an east-west direction in a depression between parabolic dunes of the Waterhouse transgressive dunefield. It receives its water from local catchment runoff, including agricultural pasture to the east. The Ramsar site encompasses the Little Waterhouse Lake and its adjacent floodplain to the south, as well as the marshland which extends approximately 400 metres west downstream of the lake.
This ecological character description describes the critical components, processes and services identified for the Little Waterhouse Lake Ramsar site, which includes wetland habitat types, rare plant species, diverse macrophyte flora and support for a significant proportion of two faunal species – the green and gold frog and the dwarf galaxiid – which are species of national significance.
The description identifies limits of acceptable change which describe the range of natural variability through which key aspects of the ecology of the site may vary without representing a change in ecological character. Limits of acceptable change for the Little Waterhouse Lake Ramsar site have been proposed for all critical components, processes and benefits and services based on existing baseline data.
The document also describes the current Ramsar listing criteria met by the site, and the key threats and knowledge gaps. Recommended monitoring needs and communication messages are also provided.
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.