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Bellarine Catchment

Land Use

Urban

Rural

Forest

Water Quality Index

Very Good

Good

Fair

Poor

Very Poor

See the ‘ Bellarine Catchment’ page for a detailed description of the catchment.

Monitoring Programs

The citizen-science-based Corangamite Waterwatch program has been monitoring the water quality in the Bellarine catchment since 1997. Monitoring of habitat, water quality parameters 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, the Report Cards employ a range of parameters such as dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature, salinity, water clarity and nutrients. Whilst the Waterwatch program uses a similar methodology and water quality parameters, they are not consistent with the data collected in the other catchments used in this Report Card. Therefore, a water quality index has not been calculated for the Bellarine catchment.

An assessment of the 2014–15 Waterwatch data indicates that poor waterway conditions are present in the Bellarine region. The poor water quality is associated with sediment load, nutrient pollution, and algal blooms resulting from land use and development activities in both rural and urban areas.

For further information about the Corangamite Waterwatch program contact the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority (CCMA).

Corio Bay looking towards Geelong. Source: Corangamite Catchment Management Authority Corio Bay looking towards Geelong. Source: Corangamite Catchment Management Authority

Waterwatch activities at Emily Street Wetlands, Point Lonsdale. Source: Corangamite Catchment Management Authority Waterwatch activities at Emily Street Wetlands, Point Lonsdale. Source: Corangamite Catchment Management Authority

What’s happened and what’s planned?

Driven by the key water quality and land degradation issues identified by the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority, major projects were implemented to improve water quality across the region. Initiatives include:

  • The ‘Caring for Our Bays’ program, which began in 2014–15 and aims to lift the profile and appreciation of Corio Bay and the Bellarine shoreline of Port Phillip Bay. This is being achieved through a multi-partnership alliance made up of the Bellarine Catchment Network, community groups, government agencies and private businesses.
  • ‘Caring for Our Bays’ is focusing efforts on coordinating and integrating awareness, infrastructure and enforcement activities to reduce litter and improve water quality in Port Phillip and Corio Bay.
  • Additionally, several multi-year projects are currently funded through the Corangamite CMA’s Coastal Tender Saltmarsh Protection project. There are two sites that commenced in 2012–13, located on Hovells Creek and Limeburners Lagoon. In 2011–12 one site was established on Yarram Creek which feeds into the marine sanctuary of Swan Bay. Activities undertaken in these projects include weed and pest animal control; installation of riparian fencing to reduce stock access to the waterways and saltmarsh communities; and revegetation of riparian land. These activities will not only protect important coastal vegetation, such as the habitat of the critically endangered Orange-bellied Parrot, but will also help to reduce the amount of sediment and nutrients entering the Bay environment.

Program Partners

Department of Environment and Primary Industries Environmental Protection Agency Melbourne Water