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How important are our inland rivers?
No one argues with the fact that they drive a vibrant cattle and, to a much lesser extent these days, wool industry. We all know that the ancient landscape throughwhich they wend is cherished and often visited by Australians from all corners.
But there are other Australians (and foreigners) who now rely almost entirely on these same watercourses. These are the smaller Australians, the ones who don’t make the decisions, the ones who get what is left over and are expected to thrive and always be there for the rest of us.
They have been decimated by drought, lost their homes, lost their families yet, somehow, they persist.
And now...the rains come. The lazy rivers of the Lake Eyre Basin have been stirred and jerked awake by the sudden outpouring of a fecund monsoon low that settled over the north. Vast sweeps of turgid water are inching their way toward the world’s largest salt lake.
And now...the birds come. Australian and off-shore waterbirds, in their depleted thousands are flocking to these rivers of life and hope. Most wetland breeding habitat elsewhere on the continent has disappeared beneath concrete and plough. How important are our inland rivers?
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|Full issue: February 2007||1.04 MB|