More protections for significant wetlands

News
Environment Pillar

A new State Government management plan will aim to further protect and maintain the internationally-recognised wetlands in G21 region, including on the Bellarine Peninsula.

The draft Port Phillip Bay (Western Shoreline) and Bellarine Peninsula Ramsar Site Management Plan has been developed in partnership with Corangamite Catchment Management Authority (CMA) and includes greater protections for 22,650 hectares at locations including Cheetham, Avalon, Point Wilson, Limeburners Bay, Swan Bay, Mud Islands, Lake Connewarre, Point Cook and Werribee.

It sets out strategies guiding management of the sites during the next seven years and beyond.

Corangamite CMA is set to receive share of $2 million in state-wide investment to help protect the wetlands from decline.

The Bellarine Peninsula and Port Phillip Bay have long been recognised for native flora and fauna, birdlife, vegetation, sea grass, salt marshes and mangroves.

The sites are home to more than 20,000 waterbirds, of which 20 species migrate to countries including China, Japan and the Republic of Korea and are protected under international agreements.

Bellarine Peninsula and Port Phillip Bay wetlands are ranked as internationally significant via inclusion in the Ramsar Convention, an inter-governmental treaty that focuses on the conservation of wetlands around the world.

The draft plan was developed with extensive community consultation and acts on an audit of Victoria's Ramsar program carried out by the Victorian Auditor General’s Office.

Water Minister and Member for Bellarine Lisa Neville said the plan was far-reaching.

“The new management plan will ensure Port Phillip Bay and the Bellarine Peninsula remains a thriving, healthy environment for generations to come,” Ms Neville said.

“We’re continuing to invest in the Port Phillip Bay and the Bellarine Peninsula Ramsar site, it’s an important community asset which provides opportunities for recreation, birdwatching and education.”

The Victorian Government is investing  $222 million over four years to improve the health of waterways and catchments.

People will be able to comment further on management of the wetlands at public information sessions. They can visit www.ccma.vic.gov.au for updates.

Source: A State Government media release.