In 2030, people and organisations across the Port Phillip and Western Port region will be collaborating to protect and improve the extent, quality and diversity of its environmental assets. There will be shared leadership in decision making, action, monitoring, reporting and learning that ensures targets for all environmental assets are set and pursued to contribute to the natural ecosystems being healthy and resilient.
The desired futures for this region’s environmental assets are outlines below.
In 2030, there will be extensive and diverse areas of permanent native vegetation maintained across the region’s landscapes and being managed chiefly for conservation and environmental purposes.
Outside the areas of permanent native vegetation, adherence to the ‘avoid, minimise and offset’ approach to any clearing will be achieving a no net loss in the extent of native vegetation and its biodiversity values across the region.
A series of major ‘Nature Links’ will have been created, forming large north-south and east-west vegetation corridors, enabling species transit and improving ecosystem resilience to climate change and habitat fragmentation.
The contribution of native vegetation to the health and resilience of the region’s environment will be widely recognised and highly valued. The extent, diversity, quality and connectedness of the native vegetation, and the careful management being provided for it, will ensure that when it is threatened or affected by fire, disease, drought, pest animals, weeds or other issues, it retains the ability to provide functions and services that benefit the community and economy.
This strategy sets targets that aim to:
- Maintain areas of permanent native vegetation that will make important contributions to the health and resilience of natural systems
- Achieve no net loss in the quantity/quality of other native vegetation across the landscape – locally wherever possible.
- This strategy also identifies potential nature links as opportunities for creating large-scale vegetation corridors and improving landscape connectivity.
In 2030, the region’s populations of native animal species will be diverse, healthy and resilient to threats.
The diversity of native fish, mammal, amphibian, reptile and bird species will be stable, contributing to the overall health of the regional environment and enabling future generations to benefit from the native wildlife of the region. Monitoring programs will be in place to regularly check the population health of ‘indicator species’, providing early warning of issues for the wider range of species.
The diversity, range and population health of native animal species, and the care and management being provided for them, ensures that when species are threatened by fire, drought, pests or other issues, they can endure and continue to benefit the ecosystems, community and economy.
The targets set by this strategy aim to:
- Maintain the diversity of native animal species that still inhabit the region
- Stabilise or improve the health of populations of selected ‘indicator species’ predicted to reflect the health of other animals sharing their landscapes and threats.
Waterways & wetlands
In 2030, the health of the region’s rivers, creeks, estuaries and wetlands will be measurably improving.
Waterways and wetlands will make important contributions to the health and resilience of the region’s environment, connecting diverse and thriving communities of native plants and animals. They will provide valued amenity for urban and rural areas and important places for communities to engage with their local environment.
Waterways and wetlands will be managed to provide sustainable environmental, economic and social values.
This Regional Catchment Strategy mirrors the Healthy Waterways Strategy developed by Melbourne Water. It sets targets for ‘key waterway values’.
To achieve its expected outcomes, the Healthy Waterways Strategy guides investment planning and priorities that aim to:
- Protect and improve riparian vegetation crucial to the environmental and social values of waterways
- Maintain and, where possible, improve the diversity and populations of native species in the region’s waterways, wetlands and estuaries
- Improve water quality in waterways, wetlands and estuaries and protect the quality of receiving waters in Port Phillip Bay and Western Port
- Inform decisions about how environmental water entitlements can be best used to minimise the impacts of natural and human-made changes to stream-flows and drainage
- Protect and improve the features of waterways enjoyed for their aesthetic, landscape and cultural values and for active and passive recreation.
In 2030, the large ring of rural and semi-rural hinterland around urban Melbourne will continue to provide substantial benefits for the environment, community and economy.
The landcapes in the hinterland, mainly ‘soft ground’, will provide the region with:
- Native habitat that supports biodiversity, ecosystem health and resilience
- Productive and valuable agriculture and local food security
- Natural and open landscapes for social and recreational benefit.
The Hinterland’s open landscapes, environmental benefits and opportunities for Melbourne’s communities to connect with nature will be widely recognised and highly valued. They will be managed to ensure that future generations can also benefit from the ecosystem services they provide and the productivity of the land.
This strategy’s targets aim to preserve the current or practicable area of hinterland in each of the 25 municipalities where it occurs.
In 2030, the region’s coasts will retain substantial environmental values. The beaches, reefs and rocky shores, mudflats, estuaries, wetlands and dunes will be managed to protect their environmental values and ensure there is sustainable use by the millions of visitors and residents that enjoy them each year.
The contribution of the coastal areas to the health and resilience of the region’s environment will be widely recognised and highly valued. The maintenance of native vegetation and other environmental features of the coast will ensure that, when threatened or affected by fire, pests, sea level rise, overuse, pollution or other issues, the coasts will retain the ability to provide functions and services that benefit the community and economy.
This strategy sets targets that aim to at least maintain the current extent and quality of native vegetation on the region’s coasts.
Port Phillip Bay & Western Port
In 2030, Port Phillip Bay and Western Port will remain healthy and iconic natural features of this region. They will have very good water quality, support diverse plant and animal life, provide valuable ecosystem services such as nutrient recycling, and be visited and used by millions of people every year.
The contribution of the bays to the health and resilience of the region’s environment will be widely recognised and highly valued. The water quality and health of the marine ecosystems, and the careful management and stewardship being provided for them, ensures that when they are threatened or affected by pollution, pests, climate change or other issues, they retain their ability to provide functions and services that benefit the community and economy.
This strategy sets targets that aim to at least maintain current water quality in each the Port Phillip Bay and Western Port segments defined by Victoria’s State Environment Protection Policy.