Streams and Billabongs
Australia is the driest inhabited continent on the planet and freshwater systems support a huge array of animals.
Between Queensland and South Australia there are 23 major rivers and over a million square kilometres of freshwater floodplain (in fact there is enough water in Australia's rivers to fill the Mississippi!)
After flooding, these rivers can leave thousands of isolated waterholes. Each waterhole, stream and river becomes a unique and rich aquatic habitat, filled with crustaceans, fish, turtles and hundreds of bird species.
Within Australian rivers and lakes, there are approximately 250 species of freshwater fish found nowhere else in the world. Freshwater fish are the most endangered group of animals on the whole planet, with a third of known species facing extinction.
Over a third of the world's riverine habitats are under moderate to high threat. Habitat destruction is the biggest threat to freshwater systems however, pollution and introduced species also play a role in the recent decline.
SEA LIFE Conservation Fund is involved in funding freshwater research, and is also undertaking a 1,000km habitat challenge. This challenge is in collaboration with NSW DPI & State Water Corporation, and involves raising funds to remove high priority redundant weirs and restore freshwater fish passage. This is critical to halt the many cases of localised extinction of freshwater fish species that migrate as part of their life cycle.