Two Great Ramsar Wetlands

Two Great Ramsar Wetlands is a five-year project (2018-23), funded through the Australian Government, that brings key agencies, land managers and community groups together to improve habitat and reduce the threats to the Port Phillip Bay (western shoreline) and Western Port Ramsar sites.

The project delivers a range of landscape-scale management actions, including pest animal and weed control, revegetation, and community engagement and education.

Two Great Ramsar Wetlands is delivered as part of the Ramsar Protection Program.


This project was originally led 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 delivery agency. 

Why this project 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. They are important plant habitats which, in turn, support feeding and breeding for birds and animals. 

The wetlands of Western Port and Port Phillip Bay’s western shoreline are listed as Wetlands of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. These wetlands comprise over 81,000 hectares and support a wide range of native plants and animals of very high conservation significance.

Partners

  • Nature Glenelg Trust
  • Parks Victoria
  • French Island Landcare
  • Hobsons Bay City Council
  • Phillip Island Nature Parks

Locations

Timeline

Year five (2022-23)Eradication of feral cats from French Island achieved.
Quail Island remains feral pig free.
Improved condition, and increased extent, of critical waterbird and shorebird habitat.
Reduction in the extent of Spartina infestation from Bass River Delta.
Year four (2021-22)Feral cat control continues on French Island (as part of Feral Cat Free French Island project); contributing to island wide eradication.
Targeted woody weed removal at priority sites.
Development of a digital elevation model of Cheetham Wetlands to better inform management decisions for waterbirds and shorebirds.
Year three (2020-21)  Quail Island was officially declared feral pig free after field monitoring validated the success of past control program.
Hobsons Bay City Council delivered four community engagement events at Altona Coastal Park to promote the environmental values of Port Phillip Bay’s western shoreline.
Recommendations from the hydrological study for The Spit Nature Conservation Reserve continued to be implemented and monitoring shows outstanding results, with the saltmarsh vegetation community thriving and waterbirds and shorebirds utilising the site in large numbers.
A hydrological study undertaken for Cheetham Wetland indicated that the site is being suitably managed to provide habitat for waterbirds and shorebirds.  
Year two (2019-20)  Successfully removed 46 feral cats from French Island, contributing to the long-term goal of eradication. The integration of a new data collection platform significantly also improved the tracking of feral cats.
Nature Glenelg Trust completed a monitoring program of 60 hectares of dry march at The Spit Nature Conservation Reserve and developed restoration options to improve its condition. This work supports discussions with land managers to protect the reserve’s environmental values. 
Remote camera monitoring and field observations were undertaken on Quail Island to confirm there is no feral pig activity (following control works in past years). Further monitoring will be undertaken in 2020-21 to validate the eradication.
Evidence of fairy-tern breeding was found at Observation Point, a positive sign that past feral cat trapping programs were successful. Fairy-terns have previously not bred at this location for 10 years.  
Year one (2018-19)A comprehensive INFFER (Investment Framework for Environmental Resources) assessment was completed to identify project priority sites and assist with prioritising investment.
Parks Victoria and French Island Landcare successfully removed 26 feral cats from French Island, contributing to the long-term goal of eradication.
French Island Landcare implemented a responsible pet ownership program on French Island, involving domestic cat sterilisation, GPS collaring, a domestic cat database and free microchipping.
Nature Glenelg Trust established a monitoring program at The Spit Nature Conservation Reserve. This will inform a restoration strategy for 60 hectares of primary waterbird and shorebird habitat along Port Phillip Bay near Point Wilson.
Parks Victoria completed pest animal control and monitoring of black rats on Reef Island. Rangers have been trialling new control techniques to improve effectiveness and reduce non-target interactions.  

Funding acknowledgement

Australian Government's National Landcare Program logo

The Two Great Ramsar Wetlands project is supported by the PPWCMA,
through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.