The Regional Catchment Strategy for the Port Phillip & Western Port region
Waterways and Wetlands

Click here to go to the interactive map and explore Port Phillip and Western Port layersThere are over 8,400km of major rivers and creeks and more than 900 wetlands in the Port Phillip and Western Port region. 3

The region’s waterways provide water for drinking, industry and agriculture as well as critical ecosystem services; drainage, nutrient-cycling and carbon sequestration.  Waterways are popular recreational destinations for residents and tourists, with around 90 million visits each year.

This Regional Catchment Strategy mirrors the Healthy Waterways Strategy developed by Melbourne Water.

The Healthy Waterways Strategy articulates the outcomes expected in 20 years for enhanced ‘key waterways values’: fish, frogs, platypus, birds, macroinvertebrates, vegetation and amenity as a result of meeting 5 year implementation targets.  Achievement of these expected outcomes will ensure the Healthy Waterways Strategy’s long term objectives are met.

To achieve its expected outcomes, the Healthy Waterways Strategy’s implementation targets guide investment planning and priorities that will 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.

Pressures are described in this strategy as the barriers to achieving expected outcomes.  They include pressures on water quality and riparian vegetation imposed by urbanisation and urban stormwater and rural residential and agricultural landuses.  Climate change poses long term and profound pressures on water availability and ecological systems in waterways and wetlands. Decision-making and action associated with implementing this strategy will need to focus on both minimising and adapting to the effects of these pressures.

The Healthy Waterways Strategy describes waterways in this region in 14 ‘waterway systems’.  These are shown in this strategy’s interactive map.  The current condition of each ‘key value’ is assessed for each waterway system.  Leadership will be crucial to achieve the expected outcomes and lead organisations are identified in this strategy.