National Wetlands Update February 2013
Issue No. 22, February 2013
Water quality action for Corner Inlet
West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority, Victoria
The fenced and revegetated Franklin River winds its way to Corner Inlet through productive beef and dairy farmland and the commercial fishing village of Port Franklin.
(Michael Malone, West Gippsland CMA)
A Water Quality Improvement Plan (WQIP) for Corner Inlet is being developed by the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority, with funding provided by the Australian Government, to help protect the ecological character of this significant wetland.
Mudflats, mangroves and migratory birds
Corner Inlet, Victoria's southern-most embayment, is home to the marine and coastal parks of Corner Inlet and Nooramunga and borders the northern coast of Wilsons Promontory National Park.
Corner Inlet is an impressive 67 000 hectare Ramsar-listed wetland and is significant for its unique intertidal mudflats and barrier islands situated west of the Ninety Mile Beach.
The wetland provides vital habitat for resident wader birds and each year tens of thousands of migratory birds use its coastal and wetland vegetation as important feeding, breeding, nesting and resting habitat.
Corner Inlet is recognised as home to the most southern stand of White Mangrove in the world and supports seagrass meadows, including the rare broad leaf seagrass, critical to fish feeding and breeding cycles.
Corner Inlet also supports an array of marine life such as the pot-bellied seahorse, King George whiting, brightly coloured sea stars and sponges, and communities of sea squirts and anemones.
People, production and partnerships
Corner Inlet's ecologically valuable seagrass meadows benefit from improved water quality that, in turn, supports marine organisms such as the Pot-bellied Seahorse.
(Dr Mark Norman, Museum Victoria)
With a surrounding catchment area of 2300 square kilometres, Corner Inlet is fed by a system of creeks and rivers. The catchment supports natural landscapes and vibrant primary industries and is a major draw card for tourists and recreational fishing.
Many individuals, landholders and community groups have formed partnerships with government agencies to bring about on-farm gains that contribute to improved catchment and inlet health.
Water of high quality is central to the health of Corner Inlet. The inlet's animal and plant life rely on good water quality and appropriate water quantities flowing into the system from streams, rivers and groundwater.
Projects undertaken to address water quality issues include:
- protection of highly sensitive saltmarsh vegetation on private land through fencing
- weed control, fencing and revegetation of rivers, creeks and drains
- whole farm planning workshops and mapping of work in priority areas
- control programs for gully, hill slope and drainage erosion issues
- improvements to effluent and fertiliser management on farms
- monitoring activities including habitat mapping, water bird counts and water quality monitoring.
The Corner Inlet WQIP will consolidate the most up-to-date knowledge and research to identify habitats at risk from poor water quality, the sources of the poor water quality, and, the most appropriate actions to address water quality issues.
The WQIP will build on work already underway within the local community to address water quality and sustainability issues. Due for completion in mid 2013, the WQIP is being developed in partnership with the Corner Inlet Connections Program. The partnership will work with the Victorian and Australian Governments to secure investment in priority actions to protect the unique values of the Ramsar site.
Once the plan is completed, monitoring will be undertaken to ensure identified actions are implemented and to provide the capacity to check on catchment and inlet condition to determine the actions that are making a difference.
For further information regarding the Corner Inlet Water Quality Improvement Plan or the Corner Inlet Connections Program, please contact the West Gippsland CMA on 1300 094 262 or visit West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority .