Bright future for Port Phillip Bay’s wetlands

14 July 2021

There are 64 wetland sites across Australia listed as internationally-significant under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. These wetlands support native plants and animals of very high conservation significance and protecting them is critical for our environment’s health.

Thanks to funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program, the Port Phillip Bay (western shoreline) and Bellarine Peninsula Ramsar site is looking better than ever.

Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority and a variety of partners including Hobsons Bay City Council, Parks Victoria, and Nature Glenelg Trust have worked tirelessly to deliver the Two Great Ramsar Wetlands project and protect the environmental values that make the western shoreline a ‘world-class’ wetland.

Over the past 12 months, over 550 hectares of coastal saltmarsh vegetation has been treated for invasive weeds, targeting species including African Boxthorn, Sea Spurge, Gorse and Spiny Rush. Works delivered by Parks Victoria across multiple sites has also helped to improve the condition of critical habitat for resident and migratory shorebirds.

Exclusion fencing was recently installed by Hobsons Bay City Council along the shoreline between Jawbone Flora and Fauna Reserve and Altona Coastal Park. The fence will minimise disturbance to an important feeding and foraging site for threatened species, shorebirds, and waterbirds.

A series of recreation visitation surveys have were conducted (over the 18 months prior to installation) to better understand the level of disturbance at the site, and to capture community awareness and understanding of the site’s importance. This feedback was used to guide and plan community engagement events.

The future looks bright for Victoria’s Ramsar wetlands.