The Dandenong catchment occupies 870 square kilometres.

  • 10 per cent of the area retains its natural vegetation
  • 30 per cent is used for agriculture
  • 60 per cent is used for urban development

The catchment, which lies south-east of Melbourne, consists of forested areas, farmland, reclaimed swampland and urban areas. Residential suburbs make up a significant component of the catchment, which increases the importance of the waterways.

Creating healthy waterways in Dandenong

The Catchment Collaboration, made up of interested community members, organisations and agencies, worked for months to create a shared vision, as well as its underpinning targets and performance objectives that will drive future actions.



  1. Management of the catchment is integrated and includes the whole water cycle.
  2. Impacts from urban, peri urban, industrial and transport activities are mitigated to protect our waterways and the Bay.
  3. Exemplary leadership enables informed, engaged and an empowered community who value and connect with waterways and tackle collaborative action.
  4. Waterways, wetlands and floodplains provide biodiversity corridors that allow the key environmental values to move and adapt to changes in condition and climate.
  5. Waterways, wetlands and floodplains are inviting places that are connected and accessible for public enjoyment and amenity.
  6. Existing sustainable habitats and refugia for iconic fish, bird and frog species and platypus are secured and rehabilitated to meet the challenge of climate change impacts.
  7. Remnant higher stream values and habitats are rehabilitated to ensure high quality elements remain in upper catchments.
  8. Secure and enhance the Edithvale–Seaford Ramsar site and surrounding creeks and wetlands within the South-east Green Wedge.
  9. Streamside vegetation zones and floodplains within the catchment continue to retain and expand Swamp Scrub and River Red Gum communities.

Waterway Values

Waterway values


There are 295 bird species recorded, of which 126 species are riparian specialists. The overall score for fish is low which is largely a reflection of the extent of barriers to fish movement throughout the catchment that prevent some species from reaching other parts of the catchment. Nationally-significant fish species include the dwarf galaxias. Frogs across much of the catchment have been impacted by spreading urbanisation, land use intensification, introduced predators, and deteriorating water quality. However, recorded species include the threatened growling grass frog and the southern toadlet.

Vegetation value varies greatly with much of the higher value areas being in the forested upper catchment and in the large regional parks and wetlands along the Dandenong Creek. Macroinvertebrate scores are very low as much of the catchment has been impacted by increasing expansion of urban and industrial areas.

Platypus are known to occur in the upper parts of the catchment, however, recent targeted surveys suggest they may no longer be present in some of these known areas. Key threats to platypus in the catchment are urban and industrial stormwater (including litter), clearing of streamside vegetation, loss of instream habitat and fragmentation of populations from barriers to movement.


Social values for rivers are currently high. Social values for estuaries range from high to very high. Social values are based on the surveyed level of community satisfaction and are threatened by inappropriate urban development, poor environmental condition, poor access to waterways and pollution. Of note is the National Water Sports Centre on Patterson River and boating facilities in the estuaries of Mordialloc Creek, Patterson River and Kananook Creek.


The land and waters of the region hold deep spiritual and cultural significance for Aboriginal peoples. The people of the Boon wurrung and Woi wurrung language groups were the original occupants of this land, as evidenced by the thousands of cultural sites and places recorded in the catchment, including along the coast.


Economic values vary across the catchment. In the upper and middle parts, diversions provide for domestic, stock and agricultural uses. On the floodplains, wetlands are being reinstated to increase the value of urban properties.

Target Summaries

Waterway Targets

Waterway targets

  • Reflect community aspirations for waterways
  • Ensure management is directly linked to desired outcomes and our catchment goals
  • Are set on a timescale of 10-plus years
  • Have been established for environmental values for rivers, wetlands and estuaries
  • Have been established for social values for rivers and estuaries
  • Are scored according to three timeframes: current state, current trajectory and target trajectory

The following summaries set out the overall targets to achieve the environmental and social waterway values.

Rivers and Creeks Summary

Dandenong Target Summary Diagram

In detail

Key value outcomes

Rivers and Creeks

Birds score is currently moderate overall and likely to remain moderate over the long term. Parts of the catchment are of international significance for migratory shorebirds (includes Ramsar-listed Edithvale-Seaford wetlands) and there are critical wetlands along Dandenong Creek that provide drought refuge for many species. The target is to maintain as moderate.

Fish score is currently low overall, but can be improved to moderate through improved instream connectivity, streamside revegetation , stormwater management and provision of suitable stream flows. There are 12 freshwater species (including the nationally threatened dwarf galaxias), nine exotic species and several estuarine species (including black bream and yellow-eye mullet). The target is to improve from low to moderate.

Frogs score is currently low overall as a result of urbanisation, land use intensification, introduced predators and deteriorating water quality. The target is to improve from low to moderate.

Waterbugs (macroinvertebrates) score for rivers is very low overall. Scores are higher in the forested headwaters, but much of the catchment is impacted by urbanisation that results in changes to stream flows, water quality and instream habitat. The target is to improve from very low to low.

Locations where a decline or very low score is expected: Blind Creek, Dandenong Creek Lower, Dandenong Creek Middle, Bayside

Platypus are known to currently occur in the Monbulk Creek system. However, with continued urbanisation and changes in climate, this population is likely to decline without intervention. The target is to retain this population.

Platypus are not expected to be in: Dandenong Creek Lower, Eumemmerring Creek, Dandenong Creek Middle, Kananook Creek, Bayside, Blind Creek

Vegetation score is currently low across the catchment. Vegetation varies, with forested areas of upper catchments having higher values. Extensive land clearing and drainage has resulted in low to moderate vegetation scores in many areas. Notable remnant forest can be found in the Dandenong Ranges, Churchill and Lysterfield parks and there are remnants of the Carrum Carrum Swamp at Edithvale-Seaford, Kananook, Carrum, Mordialloc and Braeside. The vegetation score trajectory is towards very low unless opportunities to improve vegetation are implemented. The target is to avoid further decline.

Amenity score, which is based on level of satisfaction, is currently high but likely to decline with increased urbanisation. The target is to improve to very high.
Community connection score, which is based on level of satisfaction, is currently high but likely to decline with increased urbanisation. The target is to improve to very high.
Recreation score, which is based on level of satisfaction, is currently high but likely to decline with increased urbanisation. The target is to improve to very high.

Sub-catchments, estuaries, and wetlands

The sub-catchments, estuaries and wetlands in the Dandenong region are:


Bayside, Blind Creek, Corhanwarrabul, Monbulk and Ferny Creeks, Dandenong Creek Lower, Dandenong Creek Middle, Dandenong Creek Upper, Eumemmerring Creek, Kananook Creek


Elwood Canal, Kananook Creek, Mordialloc Creek, Patterson River


Banyan Waterhole (also known as Boundary Road Wetland), Barnbam Swamp, Lynbrook, Braeside Park, Dandenong Catchment stormwater treatment wetlands, Dwarf Galaxias Conservation Wetland, Cranbourne Road, Narre Warren, Dwarf Galaxias habitat ponds - created along Dandenong Creek, Eastern Treatment Plant, Edithvale Wetland, Hallam Valley Floodplain, Seaford Wetland
Tamarisk Waterway Reserve, Langwarrin, Tirhatuan Wetlands, Dandenong Creek, Wannarkladdin Wetlands, Winton Wetlands, Dandenong Creek

More information