Gippsland Lakes project update
Published: 2 June 2024

Giving Gippsland Lakes freshwater wetlands room to move

West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (CMA) is working with private landholders and partners to enhance water quality and reconnect freshwater wetlands to give them room to move along rivers flowing into Gippsland Lakes.  

The project is now well underway and aims to improve the condition of priority fringing wetlands along the lower Carran Carran (Thomson), Wirn’Wurndook Yirrung (Macalister) and Durt’Yowan (Latrobe) river reaches. 

“Works are being undertaken at sites around Sale that flow into Lake Wellington and the greater Gippsland Lakes System. Each has been identified as a priority for waterbirds and frogs,” said Martin Fuller, CEO of West Gippsland CMA.  

“Planning for, protecting and increasing available freshwater habitat is essential for plants and wildlife to be able to move and seek refuge within the landscape.” 

“The project will include ecological surveys, restoring priority areas through controlling weeds, fencing to keep out stock and planting of indigenous species to ultimately reconnect wetlands and waterways and protect floodplains and enhance these high value wetlands.” 

“Preserving and improving these freshwater wetland sites upstream will help to build resilience to the pressures of climate change, rising sea levels and salinity in areas close to the Gippsland Lakes embayments and river estuaries.”

The sites along waterways that run into Lake Wellington and the Gippsland Lakes system, were chosen based on the Index of Wetland assessments and identifies areas that are priority wetland habitat that are providing refuge for wildlife. 

Two wetland sites have been chosen on the Carran Carran (Thomson River), where fencing and planting is helping to alleviate erosion pressures and stabilise banks. The team recently worked to relocate a fence by moving it back 700 metres to protect an existing 1.6 hectares of floodplain vegetation. 

The other two sites along Flooding and Lavers creeks contain important floodplain woodlands.  On one property, the team removed woody weeds such as Hawthorn from around a farm dam and repaired fences to keep out stock. Winter plantings of over 6,000 trees will reconnect the wetland with the creek.

The preservation and enhancement of freshwater wetlands is a high priority, particularly in response to climate change, rising sea levels and salinity in wetlands closer to the Gippsland Lakes.

This project is being delivered through by West Gippsland CMA as part of the Love Our Lakes program – part of a $248 million investment by the Victorian Government to improve the health of waterways and catchments. Of this, $7.5 million is being provided to improve the health of Gippsland Lakes over three years (2021-2024), through support to the Gippsland Lakes Coordinating Committee and for the delivery of on-ground works and community engagement. 

Find out more about the Love our Lakes program.

Kelsey Tong and Elsa Burnell from WGCMA
Woody reeds ready to be burned
Flooding Creek wetland revegetation
Flooding Creek wetland revegetation