Western Port

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Wonderful Western Port

Western Port is a natural wonder on the edge of Australia’s second-largest city. Western Port’s outstanding biodiversity is founded on a mosaic of marine, intertidal, coastal, wetland and island environments. 

Western Port is a Ramsar Site – a wetland of international importance. The Ramsar Convention aims to halt and reverse the worldwide loss of wetlands and to conserve those that remain. Wise use and management’ are the convention’s key principles.

Western Port’s shores are fringed by some of the world’s most southerly mangrove forests, vast intertidal mudflats, Victoria’s largest saltmarshes and sandy beaches. 

Beneath the water, seagrass meadows grow across Western Port’s northern and western arms around French Island. They provide critical habitat and energy for fish and the invertebrates they live on.

Deep, steep-walled tidal channels allow 2-3 metre tides to sweep through the bay four times each day.  At low tide, approximately 40% of Western Port is exposed mud and seagrass. Well-mixed oceanic waters produce clean, coarse sands on the seabed at Western Port’s southern reaches. In the north-eastern parts of the bay the waters become more turbid and the sediments finer. Rocky reefs are not common in Western Port but support rich diversities of invertebrates and seaweeds.

Birdwatchers and scientists have counted 115 species of waterbirds, waders and seabirds. They account for 65% of Victoria’s bird species diversity and over 30 migratory waterbird species listed under international conservation agreements.