Wetlands and estuaries
the interface between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. They are
intrinsically different from terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems,
but are highly dependent on and influenced by both terrestrial and
areas either temporarily or permanently covered by water, including
swamps and saltmarshes. Some of the most important wetlands in Victoria
are on the coast. This includes the five Ramsar sites - wetlands
of international importance - and another 18 wetlands of national
importance. Two UNESCO biosphere reserves also recognise the exceptional
natural values of sections of the Victorian coast, the Mornington
Peninsula and Western Port, and Croajingalong Biospheres.
sediment traps and filter nutrients from catchments, protecting
rivers and marine areas from many potentially threatening processes.
They protect our shores from wave action, and reduce the impacts
rivers to the sea. In estuaries, salt water from the open sea mixes
with freshwater draining from the land, creating unique and important
ecosystems. Estuaries are important breeding and nursery grounds
for aquatic fauna. They contain highly productive fisheries and
are therefore crucial to fishing industries. There are 83 estuaries
along the Victorian coast, including brackish rivers and streams,
inlets, small bays and coastal barrier lagoons.
coastal wetlands and estuaries are noted for their habitat diversity
and high biological productivity. They support abundant wildlife,
such as resident and migrant shorebirds, waterbirds, and fish, and
unique wetland vegetation communities, such as saltmarsh, mangroves
and reed beds.
wetlands and estuaries are often surrounded by coastal settlements
which expose them to intensive levels of recreation and use, illegal
estuary mouth openings, changes in river flow regimes, run-off of
catchment nutrients, possible pollution events such as oil spills,
invasion by weeds or pests, and salinisation.
estuaries on private land are potentially exposed to further agricultural
and development threats. Wetlands and estuaries are also particularly
susceptible to climate change impacts, such as inundation from rising
sea levels and storm surges, lower rainfall, increased temperatures
and increased storm events.
our understanding of onshore environments through research
and monitoring programs to determine the impacts on wetlands
and improve the ecological integrity of Ramsar sites, coastal
wetlands and estuaries.
that rivers are ecologically healthy and replenish productive
estuaries through the provision of adequate environmental flows.
artificial estuary mouth openings in accordance with the Estuary
Entrance Management Support System.
Develop and implement an integrated river, wetland and estuary strategy,
based on asset priorities and integrate the recommendations into
relevant planning and management strategies (DSE,
CMA, PV, DPI, CoM, VCC).