Celebrating National Water Week – Protecting our Ramsar wetlands

21 October 2015

As we celebrate National Water Week 2015, the Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority (PPWCMA) continues to play a key role in looking after iconic wetlands in the region. There are three wetland systems in this region that are recognised under the Ramsar Convention because they have international significance for migratory birds and other environmental values – the Edithvale-Seaford wetlands, Western Port and the western shoreline of Port Phillip Bay.Some birds such as the Eastern Curlew migrate annually over 10,000 kilometers from places such as Siberia to Australia, and rely on our wetlands to rest and feed as part of their amazing yearly ritual.  However, some pests and modern land uses and activities, including weeds, foxes, feral cats and increasing urbanisation and recreation have put our Ramsar wetlands under pressure. In response, with assistance from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme, the PPWCMA is coordinating work by various organisations and community groups to better protect the environmental values of the Port Phillip Bay (Western Shoreline) and the Western Port wetlands. In addition, the PPWCMA has just kick started the ‘Improving Wetlands Project’ supported by the Victorian Government’s Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning involving partnerships with councils, government agencies, community Landcare groups and private landholders. PPWCMA’s Andrew Morrison is leading these projects and says, “This work will contribute to improving the ecological health and condition of mangrove and saltmarsh vegetation communities across the sites.” “It will also help to reduce the threats from feral animals to native wildlife, and community engagement activities will raise awareness of wetland values and increase community and public knowledge. As we mark National Water Week, it is important for the community to understand just how precious these resources are”, he said. For more information on the PPWCMA’s work at the Ramsar wetland sites, visit www.ppwcma.vic.gov.au.