In the early 1990s further urban development of Wanda and Mambo Wetlands Reserves was discontinued. This was effected by enormous community pressure, including that of current members of this committee.
Mambo Wetlands Reserve covers 175 hectares of saltwater and freshwater wetlands. It is part of Port Stephens Estuary which is listed under the National Estate, having gained this listing as a result of its ecological significance. It contains a large and important area of mangroves and an extensive area of seagrasses as well as a signifiicnt area of salt-marsh.
Wanda Wetlands Reserve covers about 13 hectares of mature wetland forest complex: the only remaining ecosystem of its type on the Tomaree Peninsula. Much of the vegetation is old growth, probably in excess of 120 years old.
The wetlands also support areas of Coastal Sand Woodland and Swamp Sclerophyll Forest which are registered as 'Endangered Ecological Communities'.
Both wetlands form part of an important wildlife corridor and habitat, stretching south of Salamander Way, west towards Soldiers Point and also linking up with Tomaree National Park and Taylors Beach Nature Reserve.
The diversity of habitats adds to the abundance of native fauna, many of which are endangered and threatened species including, but not limited to, koalas, bats, squirrel gliders, powerful owls, Wallum froglets, green bell frog and various migratory birds which exist in the area and contribute substantially to the aquatic processes of the estuary.
The committee of community volunteers was formed in 1999. The main objectives included the restoration, protection and conservation of the natural environments of Mambo and Wanda Wetlands.
Our Committee's continued preservation activities, therefore, are critical to the long-term environmental sustainability of both Mambo and Wanda Wetlands.
The removal of bitou, lantana and rubbish in large areas has already had the effect of promoting natural flora regeneration as well as allowing enhancement of wildlife corridors which facilitate movement of fauna and provides increased habitat.
At least 12,000 trees, bushes and grasses have been planted.
The restriction of motor-bike and other vehicle access has reduced habitat degradation and encouraged natural regeneration of native vegetation including mangroves on disturbed foreshore areas.
By testing water on a regular basis, any changes in the quality of the water can be detected and corrective action implemented.
In recognition of our work for the environment, the Mambo Wanda group has received numerous awards including, but not limited to, the following:
- 2006 Port Stephens Council Award in recognition of the Committee's environmental work
- Regional Community Runner Up in Keep Australia Beautiful NSW - Sustainable Garden Challenge 2007
- Winner in the 'Urban Community Natural Resource Management Group' of 2009 Hunter-Central Rivers Champions of the Catchment Awards
- Semi Finalist in NSW Regional Environment & Landcare Award
- Winner of the Cultural Heritage Award in the 2010 Tidy Towns Sustainable Communities Awards