Western Port

* About the images

We took care to attach appropriate images that are as close to representative of each species as our resources and the availability of images allowed. however, we could not ensure perfect accuaracy in every case. Some images show species that share the same genus but not at the species or subspecies level.

The Western District Lakes Ramsar site is located within the western volcanic plains region of Victoria, near the township of Colac. It lies within the landlocked Lake Corangamite catchment and is comprised of nine separate lakes. The lakes vary in size, depth and salinity, depending on their method of formation, catchment area and outlet. Lake Corangamite is the largest, covering approximately 25 000 hectares. The only significant river in the region, the Woady Yallock River, drains into this lake. The Ramsar site is roughly equivalent to the high-water mark of the nine lakes and vegetation within the site is therefore limited. Approximately 10-20% of the lake margins are vegetated, mostly with saltmarsh communities. A total of five submerged aquatic plant species have been recorded. Two nationally threatened species, the salt-lake tussock-grass (Poa sallacustris) and spiny peppercress (Lepidium aschersonii) occur within the Ramsar site. The Ramsar site provides habitat for approximately 70 waterbird species, 20 of which are listed under international migratory species treaties and 11 of which breed within the Ramsar site. Some species congregate there in large numbers, including the Australian shelduck, chestnut teal, Australasian shoveler, Eurasian coot and banded stilt. Six native species of fish have been recorded within the lakes of the Ramsar site. Of the invertebrates recorded, molluscs dominate most of the saline and mesosaline lakes whilst Lake Colongulac is dominated by oligochaetes. Hydrology is variable across the site. Some of the lakes are permanent whilst others are seasonal or intermittent. All are connected to saline, surficial groundwater and all except Lakes Beeac and Cundare are groundwater flow-through lakes. Most of the water is received through direct rainfall and lost via evaporation. All lakes are highly turbid and have high nutrient levels. The region is spiritually and culturally significant for the Djargurd Wurrung and Gulidjan Indigenous groups. There are several important archaeological sites in the Ramsar site, which was particularly significant for the provision of food.

Government evidence of impact of climate change:

Expand all Close all
  • Australian Government, Western Port Ramsar Site, Ecological Character Description

    These have resulted from a variety of causes; including historical and current activities that threaten the character of the site; and are anticipated to continue threatening the site in the future; including . historical catchment alterations such as large scale vegetation clearance; channelisation and construction of levees . catchment and coastal erosion . deteriorating water quality O shipping . recreational activities . pest plants and animals climate change . urban development grazing recreational and commercial fishing.
    CLIMATE CHANGE Impacts associated with climate change; particularly sea level rise; an increased frequency and intensity of storm surges; and temperature fluctuations; have been identified as significant threats to the Ramsar site and surrounding areas (DSE 2008 CSIRO 2008).
    In addition; more frequent and intense storm events and surges are expected to result from climate change.
    These have been identified following review of the identified threats to the ecological character of the Ramsar site (Section 4) Catchment and coastal erosion the importance of coastal vegetation in preventing erosion and stabilising sediments; and undertaking activities within the catchment to prevent further sediment delivery to the Ramsar site such as preventing direct access of stock to waterways and providing off stream watering points . 8 Diminishing water quality how to minimise pollution within the catchment entering the Ramsar site; particularly stormwater; run off and litter Recreational activities steps the community can take to minimise shorebird disturbance by walking; boating; recreational vehicles and domestic pets Pest plants and animals the importance of controlling pest species; including terrestrial species (such as domestic cats; Red Foxes; deer) in addition to exotic marine species Climate change steps the community can take to minimise the impacts associated with climate change such as helping revegetate actively eroding sites Ecosystem interactions the importance of interactions between climate; water quality; tidal regime and hydrodynamics; bathymetry; sediment; flora and fauna (including marine invertebrates and fish) in maintaining the Western Port environment. . 8 9 References Balthuis; D.
    Global warming and resultant sea level changes could impact on the frequency of inundation and area exposed that provides habitat for waterbirds.
    In addition; climate change and consequent sea level rise significantly threatens the availability of intertidal mudflats within the site.
    These have resulted from a variety of causes; including historical and current activities that threaten the character of the site; and are anticipated to continue threatening the site in the future; including . historical catchment alterations such as large scale vegetation clearance; channelisation and construction of levees . catchment and coastal erosion . deteriorating water quality O shipping . recreational activities . pest plants and animals climate change . urban development grazing recreational and commercial fishing.
    CLIMATE CHANGE Impacts associated with climate change; particularly sea level rise; an increased frequency and intensity of storm surges; and temperature fluctuations; have been identified as significant threats to the Ramsar site and surrounding areas (DSE 2008 CSIRO 2008).
    In addition; more frequent and intense storm events and surges are expected to result from climate change.
    These have been identified following review of the identified threats to the ecological character of the Ramsar site (Section 4) Catchment and coastal erosion the importance of coastal vegetation in preventing erosion and stabilising sediments; and undertaking activities within the catchment to prevent further sediment delivery to the Ramsar site such as preventing direct access of stock to waterways and providing off stream watering points . 8 Diminishing water quality how to minimise pollution within the catchment entering the Ramsar site; particularly stormwater; run off and litter Recreational activities steps the community can take to minimise shorebird disturbance by walking; boating; recreational vehicles and domestic pets Pest plants and animals the importance of controlling pest species; including terrestrial species (such as domestic cats; Red Foxes; deer) in addition to exotic marine species Climate change steps the community can take to minimise the impacts associated with climate change such as helping revegetate actively eroding sites Ecosystem interactions the importance of interactions between climate; water quality; tidal regime and hydrodynamics; bathymetry; sediment; flora and fauna (including marine invertebrates and fish) in maintaining the Western Port environment. . 8 9 References Balthuis; D.
    Global warming and resultant sea level changes could impact on the frequency of inundation and area exposed that provides habitat for waterbirds.
    In addition; climate change and consequent sea level rise significantly threatens the availability of intertidal mudflats within the site.
    This is likely to be due to drought conditions Waterbirds were impacted by seagrass dieback and partial recovery in the 1970s and 1980s.
    It is considered likely that these changes are due to drought conditions (R.
    This is likely to be due to drought conditions Waterbirds were impacted by seagrass dieback and partial recovery in the 1970s and 1980s.
    It is considered likely that these changes are due to drought conditions (R.