Independent, comprehensive scientific data we can trust.

Every October for over 37 years, expert independent researchers have surveyed wetlands and waterbirds across Eastern Australia.

These surveys have built up one of the country’s most important long-term data sets on the health and biodiversity of our river and wetland environments.

Up to 2,000 wetlands and rivers are surveyed observing up to 50 different waterbird species, including threatened species.

Sadly, data shows a continued long term decline in total waterbird abundance and breeding.

The 34th (2016) survey showed waterbird numbers were at their lowest levels ever recorded.

The 35th (2017) survey showed abundance remained well below long term average with many game bird species numbers low "by order of magnitude". 

 

Had we protected them from shooting, juveniles could have bred and assisted in bird number recovery. Instead, a further season was allowed and higher than usual numbers of immature birds were found in shooters bags inspected by authorities. 

The 36th (2018) survey unsurprisingly, showed a further decline in numbers, well below average with game bird species - many unique to our country - low by order of magnitude.

The 37th survey showed significant long term declines in all major indices. Wetland area index was the lowest ever recorded since surveys began. There was little if any breeding, with swans and ibis accounting for 97% of what little there was. 

Previous Labor governments cancelled native waterbird shooting seasons for less dire cirumstances. 

The Andrews Labor government continues to allow native waterbird shooting despite the worst environmental conditions ever recorded.