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Protecting coastal saltmarshes

A diverse range of native plants and animals live within, or utilise the saltmarshes of the Victorian coast.

A diverse range of native plants and animals live within, or utilise the saltmarshes of the Victorian coast. Rising sea levels, recreational and agricultural use, coastal development, water pollution, altered drainage and invasive species are some of the threats they face. There are more than 19,000 ha of saltmarsh along the Victorian coastline and 6,000 ha of it is on private land, this makes the work in protecting these sensitive areas and dependent species very important.  

The Trust is helping to mitigate the impacts of climate change by working with landowners to protect adjacent private land on higher ground. This will allow the ‘migration’ of the saltmarsh habitat over time, providing future habitat opportunities for saltmarsh species.

For over 15 years, Trust for Nature has partnered with landowners to protect saltmarshes along the coastline of the Corner Inlet Ramsar site, east of Wilsons Promontory. Four landowners have placed covenants on their properties to permanently protect more than 72 ha of valuable coastal saltmarsh and associated habitats. With more than 1,100 ha of saltmarsh habitats occurring on private land within Corner Inlet, there’s still a lot of work to be done to permanently protect it.

Saltmarshes on the Corner Inlet and Nooramunga coastline provide important resources for native animals, such as the critically endangered Orange-bellied Parrot. They also support migratory shorebirds including the vulnerable Eastern Curlew and inundated areas provide nursery and feeding habitat for native fish. Saltmarshes also support a range of invertebrate animals, with some species being an important food source for the vulnerable Swamp Skink. 

As well as providing valuable habitat, coastal saltmarshes act as an important buffer against rising sea levels and they play a significant part in capturing and storing carbon. 

A project with the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority prioritises saltmarsh sites within Corner Inlet that would be suitable for protection under covenant. This work will be valuable in guiding our efforts toward increasing the area of protected saltmarsh habitats in Corner Inlet. 

For more information about projects in the West Gippsland region contact John Hick (03) 8631 5888 or johnh@tfn.org.au   

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This work will be valuable in guiding our efforts toward increasing the area of protected saltmarsh habitats in Corner Inlet.

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