Sign next to gate to Marrambidya Wetland telling people to keep dogs on a leash


Keep your dogs on a leash at Marrambidya Wetland

Published: 14 Sep 2023 2:24pm

Wagga Wagga City Council is reminding visitors to the city’s Marrambidya Wetland that it is not a designated off-leash area and, as such, all dogs must be on-leash and under the control of their owner.

Marrambidya Wetland is a 20-hectare reserve located alongside the Murrumbidgee River which provides habitat for migratory and non-migratory birds, water insects, frogs, fish, reptiles and mammals such as the locally threatened Squirrel Glider.

The wetland area is a place where people can get close to nature and experience our native birds and other wildlife.

Man with dog on leash walking past a wetland pond with ducks on the water in the background
PROTECT THE WILDLIFE: The Marrambidya Wetland provides valuable habitat for migratory and non-migratory birds, water insects, frogs, fish, reptiles and mammals.

Council Environmental Education Officer Christina Reid said unfortunately, there are some visitors who think it is okay to let their dogs off the leash in this sensitive wetland habitat, as they believe their dog won’t hurt anything.

“Dog owners need to understand how their pets’ presence can harm the bird and animal life at the wetland, if they’re let off the leash,” Ms Reid said.

“Native reeds have been carefully selected and planted along the edge of the wetland area for the specific purpose of providing a nesting site for native waterbirds.

“A dog running through those spaces may scare birds into abandoning their nests as it may be a message to the brooding birds that this is not a safe place to raise their chicks.

“Recently we’ve seen a Swamp Wallaby at the wetland area which is a great treat for nature lovers. These animals can quickly panic at the sight of a dog running toward them and this can lead to injuries.”

Woman standing beside sign for Marrambidya Wetland with pond in background
RESPECT THE ENVIRONMENT: Council Environmental Education Officer Christina Reid is encouraging visitors to the Marrambidya Wetland to protect the native bird and animal life by keeping the pets on a leash.

The presence of dogs off-leash can also impact other users’ enjoyment of the site, including other dog owners with their animals on-leash and parents of small children.

It is important to be aware that not all people are going to love your dog as much as you do, and that your dog doesn’t have to bite to do harm.

“In fact, in terms of the law, a dog threatening a person or animal can be classed as an attack, because it can cause real terror in people, their pets and wild animals, and there are fines if this happens,” Ms Reid said.

“Our rangers will be stepping up their regular patrols of the wetland during spring. A dog attack fine, which doesn’t have to include a bite, is $1320 and dog off-leash fine is $330.

“We are so lucky to have such a wonderful space so close to the centre of our city. It is a major drawcard for visitors and a great teaching tool for local schools.

“Please respect this fantastic natural area and either keep your dog on a leash or take it elsewhere for exercise.”

Man with dog on leash and woman with dog on leash past each other on gravel path at Wetland
LEASHES ON! If you’re taking your dog for a walk through our Marrambidya Wetland, remember to snap on a lead as this beautiful 20-hecatre reserve is not a designated off-leash area.

Council has nine designated off-leash areas across the city, including two in close proximity to the Marrambidya Wetland: the Wiradjuri Reserve Off-Leash Area and the Narrung Street Off-Leash Area.

For more information about our off-leash areas, visit the Off-Leash Dog Areas page on our website.