Ramsar Protection Program

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. 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.

Since 2010, the Ramsar Protection Program has worked to maintain or improve the ecological values of these sites by delivering collaborative projects that manage key threats, including pest animals and invasive weeds.

Significant emphasis is also placed on community engagement activities to raise awareness of the environmental values of these Ramsar-listed wetlands and how to protect them.


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.

  • Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
  • Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
  • Melbourne Water
  • 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
  • Conservation Volunteers Australia

Current projects

Related information

Ramsar strategies and plans

Ramsar site management plans sit within a framework for the management of aquatic ecosystems within Australia and the State of Victoria. At the national level, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) establishes the basis for managing Ramsar sites. In Victoria the Victorian Waterway Management Strategy guides the management of rivers, estuaries and wetlands. There are 11 Ramsar sites in Victoria.

Port Phillip Bay (Western Shoreline) and Bellarine Peninsula Ramsar site management plan

Western Port Ramsar site management plan

Healthy Waterways Strategy 2018 – 2028

Understanding Western Port – 2018

Western Port Welcomes Waterbirds – 2011