Values of our rivers, creeks and streams

The Port Phillip & Western Port region holds more than 25,000 kilometres of rivers and creeks. Collectively they gather water from the landscape which flows into Port Phillip Bay and Western Port.

The waterways are very significant for the Traditional Owners of this area. Cultural stories and physical evidence of thousands of years of Aboriginal peoples’ caring for Country are connected to the water and waterways, and Traditional Ecological Knowledge remains important in waterway management today.

The health of the waterways, and the vegetation and wildlife they support, is vital to the region’s environmental, social and economic wellbeing. They provide habitat for plants and animals, and are critically important in sustaining much of our region’s native biodiversity. They also contribute to sustaining critical ecosystem services including nutrient-cycling and carbon sequestration.

Waterways are important for recreation and wellbeing. They are places to escape from busy urban landscapes, to exercise and connect with nature. Waterways and streamside facilities are the most visited part of our region’s National, State and Regional Parks. Around 90 million visits are made to our region’s waterway each year. They are a major contribution to Melbourne being one of the world’s most liveable cities.

Economically, waterways provide benefits through the provision of drinking water for Melbourne and surrounding towns, water for diverse and significant agricultural industries, and supporting travel, tourism, and marine-based activities.