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Inland waters and wetlands

What are inland waters and wetland ecosystems?

Victoria has a rich variety of inland and estuarine aquatic environments, including flowing waters such as creeks, streams and rivers; and standing waters such as lakes and wetlands. These waters can be permanent or ephemeral, such as intermittently flooded wetlands and red gum floodplains.

Inland waters and wetlands provide habitat for a variety of animals. Some species such as fish and frogs require water throughout their life cycle, some may use aquatic areas for a specific stage of their life cycle (e.g. birds and amphibians), while others may require aquatic environments for resources such as food or as a corridor for movement. The right conditions can result in large and spectacular breeding colonies.

The forest canopy of tall eucalypts, large wattles and broad-leafed shrubs supports 80 per cent of Victoria's possums, gliders and bats and most of the common forest birds and arboreal skinks. The river banks and the rivers themselves support a vast range of invertebrates providing a food source for many native species, including platypus and water rats, kingfishers and swallows, frogs, fish, water skinks and snakes.

Inland waters and wetlands facts

  • There are over 17,000 wetlands larger than 1ha in Victoria
  • Inland waters and wetlands, coupled with the surrounding land, support natural processes that purify water while cycling nutrients and sediments
  • They provide important focal points for recreation, tourism and cultural enrichment.


  • Changes to flow regimes
  • Frequency and intensity of flooding – flooding is necessary to provide moisture for the germination and survival of red gum seeds
  • Particularly prone to weed invasion.

Where do I find inland waters and wetlands?

Find out more

Enviro Activ Wetlands  – Videos, photos and information about Victoria’s wetlands.

Deptartment of Environment and Primary Industries – Comprehensive information about Victoria’s wetland ecosystems including our internationally significant Ramsar wetlands.

Melbourne Museum – Coastal wetlands in Victoria – Information about Victoria’s coastal wetlands and a video about wetland birds.

Make a movie about wetlands

Parks Victoria’s Enviro Activ website has over 70 videos and 250 photos of wetlands around Victoria. You can use these for any educational purpose. The website has comprehensive information about wetlands as well as information about how you can make your own wildlife video. For teachers, there is also resources for you to use with your students.

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