The Regional Catchment Strategy for the Port Phillip & Western Port region
Method (Coasts)

Method to assess coasts

A series of ‘coastal zones’ have been identified that include all of the coast around Western Port and Port Phillip Bay.

The zones have been delineated where there is a significant change in the type and/or environmental value of the coast, and where it is sensible that there should be a tailored environmental target put in place.

The high water mark has been identified as the seaward boundary of the zones.  The inland boundary for each zone has been identified at fine scale and is tailored for each area.

The current environmental condition of each zone has been measured by the extent of its native vegetation cover.

The data is presented in tables such as the following:

Zone Appx. length
width (m)
Area of
native vegetation
of zone
with native vegetation
Phillip Island ocean 42.3 258 1,091 922 85
Phillip Island bay 36.9 120 443 52 12
French Island south 23.6 342 807 693 86
French Island north 40.4 349 1,411 1,293 92

This method has been used to outline the current condition of coasts (Condition) and set targets for the future (Targets).  Lead organisations are committed to achieving these targets (Leadership) and arrangements are in place to monitor and report on progress and success (Monitoring and Reporting).

It is expected that a Coastal Action Plan will be developed for the coast of the Port Phillip & Western Port region by the Victorian Government (led by the Central Coastal Board).  The plan may lead to the method used here being improved and/or replaced.  It may make progress towards an ‘Index of Coastal Condition” or similar that could better describe and assess the environmental value of coastal areas.  An index could include assessment of:

  • the extent, type and quality of native vegetation in the coastal zone
  • the diversity of native animals in the coastal zone and the importance for threatened native species
  • the near shore water quality
  • other special features.