The Edithvale-Seaford Wetland is the largest natural wetland of its type in the Port Phillip and Westernport basins. It is all that remains of Carrum Carrum Swamp, which once covered more than 4000 hectares from Mordialloc in the north to Frankston in the south.
When European settlers arrived, this large wetland supported many animals and plants, including Brolga and Magpie Goose – now both extinct in the area. However, in the second half of the 19th century the wetland was gradually drained for farming and flood protection. In 1879 Patterson River was dug through the middle of the swamp to drain water into the bay.
The remaining wetland areas have been kept to provide flood protection, and include:
A wetland of international importance
In 2001 the Edithvale-Seaford Wetland was listed as a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention.
It was recognised because it:
is the last remaining examples of the Carrum Carrum Swamp, with a variety of permanent and seasonal, freshwater and salt water wetlands
supports populations of the Australasian Bittern, a bird of state significance and threatened in Victoria
supports more than 1% (2000 birds) of the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper population that migrates along the East Asian-Australian flyway, in up to one year in three
The management plan for the Edithvale-Seaford wetlands follows the Strategic Directions Statement for Management of Victoria's Ramsar Wetlands as prepared by the Department of Environment and Primary Industries.
Birds and wildlife
It is estimated that at any one time, as many as 7000 birds make the Edithvale-Seaford Wetland their home.
Star attractions include:
190 bird species
38 migratory species protected under international agreements and Australian legislation
migratory waders, including Latham's Snipe from the northern islands of Japan
Seven bird species recorded at the Edithvale-Seaford Wetland are protected under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (Vic):
Australian Painted Snipe
The wetland is also home to a mob of Eastern Grey Kangaroos, and an extensive walking and bicycle track around its perimeter is ideal for birdwatching.
A recent botanical survey of the Edithvale-Seaford Wetland mapped 14 plant communities, including three that are of state significance:
The wetland also has a number of regionally significant plant populations, and one population of state significance: Large River Buttercup.
Economic and social values
As well as supporting animals and plants, the wetland is:
an important flood management asset
a popular community recreation facility, particularly for birdwatchers
a valuable education resource for school groups
Managing the wetland
Melbourne Water is responsible for managing Edithvale Wetlands, and manages Seaford Wetlands together with Frankston City Council.
The Friends of Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands are an active community group that helps Melbourne Water manage the wetlands.
Community liaison committee
The Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands Community Liaison Committee also plays a central role in planning and managing the wetlands. The committee was established in 2004 and includes representatives from environment, business and community organisations as well as local residents, members of the Friends of Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands group, and local government representatives from the City of Kingston and the City of Frankston.
The committee is a community engagement forum through which we aim to communicate effectively with interested stakeholders on matters relating to managing the wetlands. It aims to:
provide a forum to discuss issues relating to the ongoing and future management of the wetlands
identify potential actions and programs to enhance the wetlands’ wildlife and habitat features
promote and encourage scientific studies that will enhance the future management of the wetlands
advise on and assist in disseminating community information on the wetlands’ environmental, conservation and wildlife values
For more information about the Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands Community Liaison Committee, please contact 131 722 and ask to speak to the local river health officer.
Edithvale-Seaford Wetland Education Centre
Melbourne Water constructed a Wetland Education Centre at the wetlands. It provides school students the opportunity to participate in practical, fun and hands-on activities.
Members of the public can also visit the centre every Sunday, between 1pm and 5pm. Responsibility for opening the centre each week alternates between Melbourne Water and the Friends of Edithvale Seaford Wetlands.