Healthy river catchments and bay environments are important to a city's liveability. The catchments and bays of the Port Phillip, Western Port and Gippsland Lakes regions are popular social and recreational areas, and are important to the livelihoods of farmers, the commercial fishing industry and businesses across Victoria.
Port Phillip Bay, Western Port and the Gippsland Lake catchments are interconnected. Land use in these catchments will impact water quality in both the waterways and the bays. Water quality in waterways is typically best in forested areas and declines as land use in a catchment becomes increasingly modified by human activities (e.g. agriculture, industry and human settlements).
High levels of nutrients and sediment travel from the catchments into the bays and lakes during heavy rainfall and can contribute to algal blooms, fish deaths and the alteration of seagrass habitat.
The Port Phillip Bay, Western Port and Gippsland Lakes Report Cards were developed to report on the health of Port Phillip Bay, Western Port and Gippsland Lakes, and their associated catchments, using water quality indicators. The Report Card provides examples of some actions undertaken by government and community that have improved water quality. Community participation in the Citizen Science programs Waterwatch and EstuaryWatch has become increasingly popular in recent years, indicating the value that local communities place on Victorian waterways.
Details about the individual indicators and how they are used to form a single measure of water quality are available via the following links: