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Towra Point is important for maintaining local and overseas bird populations

The Ramsar Convention is a treaty for the protection of wetlands of international conservation significance. Towra Point Nature Reserve was declared a Ramsar site in 1984. The importance of the Reserve is mainly as a habitat for migratory wading birds such as the Japanese Snipe (below). Towra Point is also subject to international migratory bird treaties with China and Japan.

Did you know...

The Bar-tailed Godwit feeds near Towra after migrating from Siberia?

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The majority of the 34 wading bird species recorded at Towra migrate from China, Siberia, Japan and the Arctic Region. Many other non-migratory wetland birds use Towra extensively. They harvest the marine organisms living in the mudflats and have adapted so that if the habitat were lost, these species would no longer be seen in the region and many would be further at risk of extinction.

The seagrass and mangrove plant communities at Towra also provide a source of food and shelter for important commercial fish species as well as for oysters and other shellfish.

The importance of the vegetation types mentioned above cannot be overstated. Seagrasses help to decrease wave energy and stabilise the seabed, thus limiting erosion of terrestrial communities.

Breaching by waves of the terrestrial zones would make these environments extremely unstable. Indeed, a section of Towra Beach is experiencing this very threat at present.


Efforts have been made to repel waves along Towra Beach

Towra also has an important role to play in enriching the urban environment. Sydney may well be one of the few major cities that can boast an internationally significant wetland within 16km of its Central Business District.

Regional Significance

The tidal wetlands of Towra Point are the last of the large wetlands of the Sydney region. Most of the wetlands that existed prior to European settlement have been reclaimed and developed for housing, recreation and industry. The mangroves of Towra represent about half of the remaining mangrove area near Sydney. Saltmarshes are less widespread in distribution and Towra provides the major remaining saltmarsh habitat within the region.
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