The site is home to a number of birds of prey which are attracted by the many small birds, reptiles and mammals that inhabit the area. These include the White-bellied Sea Eagles, Wedge-tailed Eagles, Spotted Harriers and Peregrine Falcons. Kits, Waterfowl and Kestrels are also common, as are well-known birds like ducks and Cormorants. The site is also home to many snakes and other reptiles including Goannas, Beared Dragons, Bluetongue Lizards and smaller Skinks.
The Winton Wetlands Reserve is 8,750Ha that comprises 3,800Ha of wetlands surrounded by predominatly river red gum and grassy box woodlands and grazing land.
The hundreds of Indigenous scar trees and tool scatters throughout the site indicate its importance to Indigenous people who called it 'Mokoan". Recorded history tells us that at times, many hundreds of Aboriginal people met at this site. The mid-19th century saw the enforced removal of its Indigenous owners, establishment of the huge "Mokoan Squatters Run" and then it's division into smaller farms.
Sixteen families lived wholly within the site and together with another 52 famillies they worked a very productive farming area surrounding the wetlands. In 1971 the area was inundated for irrigation, despite protests from the families that were displaced by the new Lake Mokoan. Lake Mokoan provided valuable irrigated agriculture and a large recreation lake for the community.
The decision to decommission Lake Mokoan and return it to wetlands was announced by the Victorian Government in 2004. In June 2008 the Victorian Government announced its committment to provide up to $20 million to establish a board of management to manage the Winton Wetlands.