Two Great Ramsar Wetlands
The Two Great Ramsar Wetlands project is a five-year project (2018-23) that aims to bring key agencies, land managers and community groups together to reduce the threats to the Port Phillip and Western Port Ramsar sites through landscape-scale actions including pest animal and weed control, revegetation, habitat augmentation and community engagement and education.
- Nature Glenelg Trust
- Parks Victoria
- French Island Landcare
A key achievement for the Two Great Ramsar Wetlands project in 2020-21 was the validation and declaration of Quail Island as feral pig free. Since 2014, The Port Phillip & Westernport CMA and Parks Victoria had been undertaking eradication and monitoring works, and remote camera and field inspections over the past 18 months have validated the program’s success.
Hobsons Bay City Council delivered a series of community engagement events to promote the environmental values of Port Phillip Bay’s western shoreline. Four events were held at Altona Coastal Park, with a highlight for participants being a kayaking adventure along Kororoit Creek.
Project partners continued to work with partners implement recommendations from the hydrological study for The Spit Nature Conservation Reserve. After a series of stoplogs were removed from a 60 hectare section of 29 Mile Road in late 2019, monitoring of the site in 2020-21 has seen outstanding results. The saltmarsh vegetation community thriving and waterbirds and shorebirds utilising the site in large numbers.
Findings from the hydrological study for Cheetham Wetland indicate that the site is being suitably managed to provide habitat for waterbirds and shorebirds.
Key achievements of the project throughout 2019-20 included the successful delivery of feral cat cage-trapping on French Island, resulting in the removal of 46 feral cats. Further to this, the integration of a new data collection platform significantly improved the way records are managed.
Nature Glenelg Trust completed an extensive amount of research to understand the hydrological regime and develop restoration options to improve the condition of sixty-hectares of dry marsh at The Spit Nature Conservation Reserve. This important piece of work will lead to continued discussions with stakeholders, land managers and the Australian Government to implement the recommendations outlined in the plan.
On Quail Island, remote camera monitoring, along with field observations, found no detections of feral pig activity. Further monitoring into 2020-21 will hope to validate the eradication of feral pigs.
Evidence of fairy-tern breeding and successful fledgling at Observation Point is a positive sign that the feral cat trapping program is progressing towards meeting the outcomes of this project. Fairy-terns have not bred at this location for approximately ten-years, indicating a reduction in feral cat predation (in the absence of red foxes).
2018-19 was the first year of the project. A comprehensive INFFER (Investment Framework for Environmental Resources) assessment involving extensive stakeholder collaboration was completed to assist with prioritising investment into the future. The assessment resulted in a list of priority sites and activities that will be incorporated into the remaining four-years of the project.
Parks Victoria and French Island Landcare successfully trapped and culled 26 feral cats on French Island in 2018-19, contributing to the long-term goal of eradication. French Island Landcare have implemented a responsible pet ownership program, involving domestic cat sterilisation, GPS collaring, a domestic cat database and free micro-chipping.
Nature Glenelg Trust established a monitoring program to assist with a hydrological study of The Spit Wildlife Reserve. This study will help to inform a restoration strategy for 60 hectares of primary waterbird and shorebird habitat along Port Phillip Bay near Point Wilson.
Parks Victoria also 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.
The focus for 2019-20 is developing new partnerships with key stakeholders to implement INFFER assessment recommendations and expanding pest animal control efforts.