Volunteers at Port Phillip Bay

Boosting the health of Port Phillip Bay

Improving foreshore wetland connectivity

Our Geelong office is excited to announce they have secured a grant through the Port Phillip Bay Fund that will see them undertake ‘RAMSAR Wetland Connectivity and Bay Health Protection through Community Action’. The Port Phillip Bay Fund supports projects by community groups and organisations who work to protect and preserve the environmental health of the Bay.

Launching on 21 August 2017, we will deliver 115 community involvement days in partnership with Parks Victoria, the City of Greater Geelong and Bellarine Bayside Foreshore Committee of Management. We are inviting eager community members, groups, schools and local businesses to volunteer on this exciting new project.

On-ground activities will take place at foreshore parks and reserves stretching from Point Cook to Queenscliff as part of the Port Phillip Bay (Western Shoreline) and Bellarine Peninsula Ramsar Site. This will include sites of international significance under the Ramsar Convention, as well as locations in between, that require improvement.

Why are wetlands important?

Wetlands are a critical part of our natural environment. They protect shores from wave action, reduce impacts of floods, absorb pollutants and improve water quality. Wetlands contain a wide diversity of life, providing habitat for animals and plants that are found nowhere else. The wetlands of the Port Phillip Bay (Western Shoreline) and Bellarine Peninsula Ramsar Site are a vital link between land and water, helping support the health of the bay through filtering stormwater runoff.

By undertaking activities that enhance foreshore vegetation and reduce marine debris, we will be able to reduce the overall nutrient load entering Port Phillip Bay. This will greatly improve the habitat for marine flora and fauna such as the new emerging species, the Burranan Dolphin, of which only around 150 individuals have been found in two locations. Activities will also enhance the habitat for on-ground animals including the critically endangered Orange-bellied Parrot.

As part of the project we will also conduct flora and fauna surveys, and photo point monitoring activities to track the results. Additionally, any marine debris we collect will be added to the Tangaroa Blue Foundation AMDI Database to contribute to a National initiative that studies, tracks and educates on the issue of marine debris.

The key to success of this project will be involvement of the community in taking stewardship of the Bay health and assisting with a variety of activities. This is a great chance to see Port Phillip Bay from sites that are not always accessible to the public, with plenty of opportunities to learn about native flora and fauna, and maybe even catch a glimpse of endangered species.

Get involved!

If individuals, schools, groups of friends or work colleagues are interested in being involved with this project, they can contact the Geelong office on (03) 5221 0300 or [email protected]