Try your hand at water bug sampling or go on a waterway treasure hunt this week as Townsville City Council celebrates the 50th World Wetlands Day.

World Wetlands Day marks the anniversary of the Convention of Wetlands in Iran on February 2 1971. This year’s theme is “wetlands and water”.

Council Community Health, Safety and Environmental Sustainability Committee chairperson Maurie Soars said Townsville had a lot to celebrate on World Wetlands Day.

“Our city is lucky to be home to wetlands at Rowes Bay and Town Common, which are natural habitats for more than 200 bird species as well as other reptiles, amphibians, mammals, insects and spiders,” Cr Soars said. 

“We also have manmade wetland in Kelso called The Borrow Pits, which was created when the Ross River Dam was built in the 1970s. This is an ephemeral wetland, which means that it fills with water during the wet season, and it has plenty of wildlife including turtles and birds.

“Our wetlands play a key role in maintaining and improving natural water quality. When they’re healthy, wetlands contain a rich diversity of plants and animals, and they can act as filtering systems, removing sediments, nutrients, and other pollutants from water.

“Safeguarding our wetlands is important for maintaining and improving our natural water quality and protecting biodiversity.”

Cr Soars said there were two ways for families to get involved in World Wetlands Day this year.

“Council wants to see your best photo showing you either sampling water bugs at one of Townsville’s local waterways or taking part in the Waterway Treasure Hunt,” he said.

“Everyone who posts a photo in the comments of the Townsville City Council World Wetlands Day Facebook post will go in the draw to win one of three water education books.

“Remember to be mindful of our wildlife when you’re in our wetlands by not using the flash on your camera and by keeping a respectful distance from animals and other visitors.”

For more information, head to Council’s Facebook page.