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*National Parks and Wildlife Service, c/ CSIRO, P.O. Box 84, Lyneham, ACT 2602.

The permanency, extent and nature of wetlands in western New South Wales have been changing for millions of years, but the rates of these changes have accelerated since European settlement. Wetlands have been affected by irrigation, river regulation and weirs, by grazing, introductions of exotic species, nutrient inputs and by harvesting of timber and other resources. The effects of these alterations on waterbirds vary with species and the type of alteration. Habitats of some species have probably been enhanced, while those of others have degraded. Waterbirds appear to have coped with the changes wrought by European settlement better than most other inland fauna. The major problems for the future conservation of waterbirds in western New South Wales are loss of wetlands from increased water use (especially water harvesting), and siltation.

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