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 for management planning and action as well as including guidance on site monitoring requirements to detect changes in the ecological character of a site.
Moulting Lagoon Ramsar site comprises of an estuarine and marine waters system and is influenced by freshwater inflows from two permanent fresh water rivers which are not within the site boundary. Moulting Lagoon is located on the east coast of Tasmania, between the townships of Bicheno and Swansea and 6 kilometres north-west of Coles Bay and the Freycinet Peninsular. The site covers approximately 4507 hectares and lies within the municipality of Glamorgan-Spring Bay. The entire area of the site is Crown Land and is contiguous with the Apsley Marshes Ramsar site. The site, plus several sections of coastal reserve surrounding it and an additional area of land to the north, is located within the Moulting Lagoon Game Reserve, under the management of the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service. Moulting Lagoon discharges into Great Oyster Bay via a narrow entrance at the end of a long sand spit.
The Ecological Character Description for Moulting Lagoon identifies limits of acceptable change for the site, including components and processes (hydrology, wetland vegetation, fish and waterbirds) and essential elements (geomorphology, climate, water quality and invertebrates). It also identifies benefits and services (including oyster farming, fish breeding, recreation and tourism, Aboriginal culture, sediment trapping bird habitat and drought refuge for waterbirds) which are critical to maintaining the ecological character of the Moulting Lagoon ecosystem.
The document also describes the current Ramsar listing criteria met by the site, the key threats and knowledge gaps and recommended site monitoring needs and communication messages. This information will help guide management planning to 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.