See the ‘ Bellarine Catchment’ page for a detailed description of the catchment.
The community-based Corangamite Waterwatch program has been monitoring the water quality in the Bellarine catchment since 1997. Monitoring of habitat, water quality indicators and aquatic macroinvertebrates (waterbugs) has been undertaken in Hovells Creek and Cowies Creek in the Geelong Region and further east at Yarram Creek and other waterways flowing into Swan Bay.
To assess water quality, this Report Card employs a range of parameters such as: dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature, salinity (conductivity), water clarity (turbidity), nutrients (phosphorus) and waterflow.
Although water quality results from the Waterwatch program provide information about ecosystem health, most of the sites have not been assessed by Waterwatch against the State Environment Protection Policy (Waters of Victoria) objectives. This can be due to the ephemeral (brief) nature of some waterways, or in the case of nutrients, only filterable phosphorous is monitored (i.e. excludes nitrogen or total phosphorous). As the data collected in the Bellarine are not consistent with that collected in the other catchments, a water quality index has not been calculated for the 2012-13 Yarra and Bay Report Card.
For further information about the data and how they are used by the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority (CCMA) and the community, please refer to the links below.
Waterwatch assessments (2011) have indicated that poor waterway conditions in the Bellarine region are associated with sediment load, nutrient pollution, algal blooms and poor groundwater quality, and are generated by activities in both rural and urban areas.
For example, nutrients present in detergents, garden fertilisers and dog faeces, together with litter dropped in streets and oils and other substances falling on roads, were identified as burdens for nearby waterways.
The Bellarine Catchment Network has a current action plan (2009-2014) that addresses water quality hotspots which were identified during community consultation. These hotspots guide the plan which incorporates both land and waterway concerns.
To deliver on this plan, the Bellarine Catchment Network initiates combined action by community, schools, government and non-government organisations and industry to tackle major environmental and land management issues across the catchment, coastal and marine environments of the Bellarine Peninsula.