Australian Wetlands Database

Ramsar wetlands

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Corner Inlet

Overview

Key facts and figures:

Date of listing:

15 December 1982

The Corner Inlet Ramsar site is the most southerly marine embayment and tidal mudflat system of mainland Australia, Photo: Andrew Corrick

Australian Ramsar site number:

13

Criteria: 

1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8

State/Territory:

Victoria

Area:

67,186 hectares

Drainage Division or IMCRA  region:

Southeast IMCRA Transition Bioregion; Southeast Coast Drainage Division

Wetland type: 

  • A - Permanent shallow marine waters in most cases less than six metres deep at low tide; includes sea bays and straits
  • B - Marine subtidal aquatic beds; includes kelp beds, sea-grass beds, tropical marine meadows
  • D - Rocky marine shores; includes rocky offshore islands, sea cliffs
  • E - Sand, shingle or pebble shores; includes sand bars, spits and sandy islets; includes dune systems and humid dune slacks
  • G - Intertidal mud, sand or salt flats
  • H - Intertidal marshes; includes salt marshes, salt meadows, saltings, raised salt marshes; includes tidal brackish and freshwater marshes
  • I - Intertidal forested wetlands; includes mangrove swamps, nipah swamps and tidal freshwater swamp forests
  • K - Coastal freshwater lagoons; includes freshwater delta lagoons
  • N - Seasonal/intermittent/irregular rivers/streams/creeks
  • Tp - Permanent freshwater marshes/pools; ponds (below 8 ha), marshes and swamps on inorganic soils; with emergent vegetation water-logged for at least most of the growing season
  • Ts - Seasonal/intermittent freshwater marshes/pools on inorganic soils; includes sloughs, potholes, seasonally flooded meadows, sedge marshes
  • W - Shrub-dominated wetlands; shrub swamps, shrub-dominated freshwater marshes, shrub carr, alder thicket on inorganic soils
  • Xf - Freshwater, tree-dominated wetlands; includes freshwater swamp forests, seasonally flooded forests, wooded swamps on inorganic soils

Key features of the site:


The Corner Inlet Ramsar site is located on the south-east coast of Victoria. It is bounded to the west and north by the South Gippsland coastline, in the south-east by a series of barrier islands and sandy spits lying end to end and separated by narrow entrances, and to the south by the hills of Wilsons Promontory. Corner Inlet includes the chain of barrier islands, multiple beach ridges, lagoons and swamps, tidal creeks, tidal deltas, and tidal washovers.

The mainland coast and several sandy islands are covered with mangroves, saltmarshes, sandy beaches and very extensive intertidal mudflats. The area contains the only extensive bed of the Broad-leafed Seagrass in Victoria.

The islands of Corner Inlet, although not rich in plant diversity, are of high biogeographical significance as a result of their geological history and connectivity to the mainland during ice ages. The islands also contain significant areas of saltmarsh and mangroves, both of which are communities of very limited distribution.

Corner Inlet supports more than 390 species of marine invertebrates and 390 species of native flora. The Ramsar site also has a high diversity of bird species with thirty-two wader species recorded. Corner Inlet provides extensive tidal flats that are exposed at low tide, which are important feeding areas for waders. It is estimated that nearly 50 per cent of the overwintering migratory waders in Victoria occur in Corner Inlet.

The nationally threatened species utilising the Ramsar site include the orange-bellied parrot, growling grass frog, Australian grayling and swift parrot.

Corner Inlet was used traditionally by Indigenous people and many archaeological sites including scarred trees, burial sites, artefact scatters, shell middens and camps have been found. Currently, the Ramsar site is used for biological conservation, ports with servicing facilities for off-shore oil and natural gas exploration, commercial fishing, recreational fishing, and other recreational activities. Diving is popular around the numerous shipwreck sites in Corner Inlet and around the barrier islands.

Justification of the listing criteria:


The Corner Inlet Ramsar site meets six of the nine criteria:

Criterion 1: Corner Inlet is a very good example of a wetland enclosed by barrier islands inVictoria and contains the most extensive intertidal mudflats in Victoria.

Criterion 2: Corner Inlet supports the nationally critically endangered orange bellied parrot as well as several other vulnerable and endangered species, including the growling grass frog and Australian grayling. The southern right whale, leathery turtle, swift parrot and shy albatross have all also been recorded at the site.

Criterion 4: Corner Inlet provides breeding habitat for a variety of waterbirds, including several species listed as threatened at the State level and/or occurring in significant numbers and habitat for significant aggregations of waterbirds during post-breeding, and as a refuge during adverse environmental conditions.

Criterion 5: Corner Inlet regularly supports well over 20,000 waterbirds. This includes species such as the eastern curlew, curlew sandpiper, bar-tailed godwit, and double banded plover.

Criterion 6: The Ramsar site has regularly supported more than one per cent of the population of the following species: pied oystercatcher, sooty oystercatcher, pacific gull, fairy tern, red knot, red necked stint and chestnut teal.

Criterion 8: Corner Inlet provides important habitats, feeding areas, dispersal and migratory pathways, and spawning sites for numerous fish species. Some of these include King George whiting, Australian salmon, greenback flounder, southern garfish, leatherjackets (several species), short-finned eel and gummy shark.

Please see the More Information page for additional information on this Ramsar site and access to the Ramsar Information sheets and other associated site documents.