Ramsar Protection Program

The Ramsar Protection Program is a long-term, collaborative environmental program working to maintain or improve the ecological values of the Western Port and Port Phillip Bay (western shoreline) Ramsar wetlands sites.

Established in 2010, the program manages key threats to these sites, including pest animals and invasive weeds, and supports community engagement activities that raise awareness of the environmental values of these internationally-significant wetlands.

The Ramsar Protection Program is supported by a range of government agencies, non-government organisations and community groups that fund and deliver coordinated small and large-scale projects and on-ground works.

This program was originally hosted by the Port Phillip & Westernport CMA. The Port Phillip & Westernport CMA is integrating into Melbourne Water on 1 January 2022 and from this date Melbourne Water will be the host agency. 

Why this program is important 

Wetlands are important feeding grounds and nurseries for land, marine and freshwater animals. Hundreds of bird species depend on wetlands around the world as part of their life cycle. Wetlands are also nature’s water purifiers; they protect water quality in the region’s rivers and bays by detaining flood flows, filtering, storing and recycling sediments and nutrients.

The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, also known as the Ramsar Convention, is an international agreement promoting the conservation and wise use of wetlands. It recognises that wetlands are a critical part of our environment and aims to halt their worldwide loss through sustainable management.

The work of the Ramsar Protection Program brings land managers and environmental stewards together to collaborate for the protection of these wetlands. It works across municipal boundaries to plan and achieve bigger and better outcomes than if the partners worked separately.


The PPWCMA coordinates the Ramsar Protection Program on behalf of its partners, which include local government, government agencies and community groups.

  • Melbourne Water
  • Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
  • Parks Victoria
  • Zoos Victoria
  • City of Casey
  • Hobsons Bay City Council
  • Mornington Peninsula Shire
  • Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation
  • Bass Coast Landcare Network
  • French Island Landcare
  • Birdlife Australia
  • Phillip Island Nature Parks
  • Western Port Biosphere


The Port Phillip and Western Port region is home to three internationally significant Ramsar-listed wetlands – Port Phillip Bay (western shoreline), Western Port and Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands