Co-Designed Catchment Program for the

Westernport and Mornington Peninsula Region

This document contains detailed targets and performance objectives set out for the catchment and its sub-catchments. Download and read it from the document library by clicking the button below.

The sub-catchments, estuaries and wetlands are:

Sub-catchments
Bass River, Bunyip Lower, Bunyip River Middle and Upper, Cardinia, Toomuc, Deep and Ararat Creeks, Dalmore Outfalls, French and Phillip Islands, King Parrot and Musk Creeks, Lang Lang River, Mornington Peninsula North-Eastern Creeks, Mornington Peninsula South-Eastern Creeks, Mornington Peninsula Western Creeks, Tarago River

Estuaries
Balcombe Creek, Bass River, Bunyip River, Cardinia Creek, Chinamans Creek, Deep Creek, Kings Creek, Lang Lang River, Merricks Creek, Olivers Creek, Sheepwash Creek, Stony Creek (WPB), Tooradin Road Drain, Warringine Creek, Watson Creek, Yallock Creek

Wetlands
Coolart Wetlands, Lang Lang floodplain, Retarding Basins with biodiversity values in the Westernport catchment e.g. Cardinia Creek Retarding Basin, The Briars, Tootgarook Swamp (Boneo Swamp/ Browns Road), Westernport (including coastal wetlands), Yallock Creek floodplain



Lang Lang - community involvement

The Westernport Catchment occupies an area of 3755 square kilometres and includes all the waterways within the catchment for Westernport, together with those on Phillip and French Islands and the Mornington Peninsula, including those that drain to Port Phillip Bay and Bass Strait.

The landscape is varied and includes hilly regions near the Bunyip State Park and Strzelecki Ranges, the flat, undulating terrain of the former Koo Wee Rup Swamp, and the marine environment of Western Port and its islands. Most of the catchment is modified to support rural and green wedge land uses, though there are still some significant environmental values:

  • primary industries include dairying, beef production, poultry, horticulture and quarrying
  • urban, industrial and tourist areas and lifestyle and hobby farms make up a smaller proportion
  • some forested areas remain in the upper catchment, French Island and the Mornington Peninsula.

Co-designing for the future

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.

Vision

Goals

  1. Stakeholders and the broader community are knowledgeable, engaged and working together in a transparent process creating a legacy of stewardship to value, protect and improve waterways.
  2. Indigenous cultural and European historical legacy be celebrated in a respectful and open dialogue.
  3. Waterways provide important biolinks that support indigenous plants and animals, are weed free, protected from feral animals and connected to the wider landscape.
  4. Natural and modified waterways across the catchment are managed for instream habitats, long term ecological resilience and fluvial processes; balancing the needs for flood mitigation, agriculture water diversion, and social values.
  5. Waterways and their estuaries across the catchment are managed to maintain and improve coastal and marine ecosystems in Western Port and Port Phillip Bay.
  6. Water re-use systems are established to benefit groundwater recharge, base flows, agriculture diversion and use, and to offset streamflow losses due to climate change.
  7. Water quality and sediment impact from urbanisation, forestry, agriculture, industry and transport are mitigated to reduce impacts on waterways and the receiving ecosystem of Western Port.
  8. Flow management of waterways be improved to protect groundwater dependent ecosystems, base flows and environmental flushing flows to sustain instream ecosystems.

Waterway Values

Waterway Values

Environmental

There have been 249 species of bird recorded, of which 131 species are expected in riparian habitats. The Westernport catchment has important bird habitats including Ramsar- listed Western Port with its extensive network of mangroves, saltmarshes and mudflats. Threatened species include Australasian bittern, hooded plover, eastern great egret and white-bellied sea-eagle, and important migratory species such as eastern curlew, red-necked stint and curlew sandpiper.

There are 18 native freshwater fish species and eight exotic fish species recorded in the catchment; nationally-significant species include dwarf galaxias, Australian grayling and Australian mudfish. Frog species include threatened species such as the growling grass frog and the southern toadlet.

Vegetation value varies, with much of the higher value areas being in the forested upper catchments, along the coast of Western Port, and in the large regional parks. Macroinvertebrates are also higher in forested headwaters and lower for streams exposed to urban runoff and limited streamside vegetation and instream habitat.

Platypus are known to occur in the north eastern parts of the catchment, including rivers and creeks in the Bunyip, Tarago and Lang Lang river systems. There is also a reintroduced population in Cardinia Creek, with platypus released between 2004 and 2007. The Tarago River and Labertouche Creek in particular have been identified as important habitats for platypus, supporting the highest density of animals recorded anywhere around Melbourne since 2000. This result is likely to be linked to a large area of connected waterway reaches with steady stream flows and high-quality instream and streamside habitat.

Social

In the Westernport catchment social values for streams wetlands are currently high. Social values for estuaries range from low to 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.

Cultural

The land and waters of the region hold deep spiritual and cultural significance for Aboriginal peoples. The people of the Boon wurrung language group were the original occupants of this land, as evidenced by the thousands of cultural sites and places recorded with many found along the coast and on Phillip and French islands.

Economic

Values vary across the catchment. In the upper and middle parts diversions for domestic, stock and agricultural uses, and 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

Target Summary for the Westernport and Mornington Peninsula Region

In detail

Key value outcomes

Rivers and Creeks

Birds score for rivers is currently moderate overall, with 249 species recorded, of which 131 are expected in riparian habitats. Of note in the catchment is the Ramsar-listed Western Port, riparian areas in forested headwaters, Tootgarook Swamp on the Mornington Peninsula and bird colonies on Phillip Island. Target is to maintain moderate for rivers.

Fish score is currently low overall for rivers, with 18 native freshwater species and eight exotic species recorded in the catchment; includes nationally significant species dwarf galaxias, Australian grayling, Australian mudfish and pale mangrove goby. Target is to improve to high for rivers.

Frogs score is currently high, with up to 14 species of frogs expected to occur across the catchment; this includes threatened species such as the growling grass frog and the southern toadlet. The current trajectory is moderate, and target is to maintain at high for rivers.

Waterbugs (macroinvertebrates) score is currently moderate, with scores higher in forested headwaters and lower in areas affected by urbanisation. The current trajectory is low; the target is to improve to high for rivers.

Platypus score is currently moderate, with populations occurring in rivers and creeks in the Bunyip, Tarago and Lang Lang river systems and a reintroduced population in Cardinia Creek. The current trajectory is low, but increased vegetation and environmental flows will maintain the value at moderate.

Platypus are not expected in: Dalmore Outfalls, Bass River, French and Phillip islands, Mornington Peninsula North-Eastern creeks, Mornington Peninsula South-Eastern creeks, Mornington Peninsula Western creeks

Vegetation score is currently low, but varies from very low to very high, with much of the high areas being in forested upper catchments, along the coast of Western Port and in the large regional parks. The current trajectory is very low; the target is to improve to moderate for rivers.

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 maintain at high.

Recreation score, which is based on level of satisfaction, is currently high but likely to decline with increased urbanisation; the target is to maintain at high.


For more information

Visit the Document Library to read the Strategy, the Co-Designed Catchment Program for the Westernport and Mornington Peninsula Region and other supporting documents.