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Bellarine Catchment

The map below shows the location of monitoring sites of the Citizen Science Waterwatch program in the Bellarine catchment.

Click on a site to see further information.

Note: Waterwatch data is not used in the calculation of the catchment Water Quality Index score.

Bay and Catchments

Land Use




Water Quality Index

Very Good




Very Poor

Citizen Science Data

Citizen Science monitoring site

See ‘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 and classify water quality from ‘Very Poor’ to ‘Very Good’, the Report Cards use parameters of 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 cannot be reliably calculated for the Bellarine catchment.

An assessment of the 2016–2017 Waterwatch data indicates that Poor water quality conditions are present in the Bellarine region. The poor water quality is associated with land use and development activities in rural, urban and industrial areas. Runoff from rural areas results in increased sediment and nutrients entering the waterways and stormwater from urban and industrial areas results in pollution entering the waterways.

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

CCMA employees conducting monitoring as part of the Waterwatch program. Source: Corangamite Catchment Management Authority

Hovells Creek. 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 2014–2017, has been renewed for another year. The program 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 2012–2013, located on Hovells Creek and Limeburners Lagoon. In 2011–2012 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.
  • Information about the Waterwatch volunteer monitoring program in the Bellarine region can be found at http://www.vic.waterwatch.org.au/


    Short-lived environmental and extreme weather events can impact water quality. Long-term dry spells can result in reduced river flows, increases in salinity and algal blooms; while heavy rain can cause flooding and river bank erosion, and can wash sediments, nutrients and pollutants into waterways.

    Above average rainfall occurred in 2016–2017. The Bureau of Meteorology (2017) (BoM station no. 87113 Avalon Airport) noted six days when significant rainfall (23–58 mm) was recorded.

Program Partners

Department of Environment and Primary Industries Environmental Protection Agency Melbourne Water