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 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, this Report Card employs a range of parameters such as: dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature, salinity (conductivity), water clarity (turbidity) and nutrients (phosphorus).
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 reactive phosphorous is monitored (i.e. excludes nitrogen or total phosphorous). As the data collected in the Bellarine catchment is not consistent with that collected in the other catchments, a water quality index has not been calculated for the 2013-14 Port Phillip Bay and catchments 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 that focuses of waterway ‘hotspots’ – areas of particular value or concern. These ‘hotspots’ were identified during community consultation and guide the Plan’s activities.
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. This work received a boost in 2014 when the Bellarine Catchment Network was awarded a 3 year Litter Hotspots Grant from the State Government. The ‘Caring for Our Bays’ project focusses on litter, nutrients and sediment inputs in the catchment.