Regional Catchment Strategy

The Port Phillip and Western Port Regional Catchment Strategy (RCS) is the overarching plan for how land, water and biodiversity is protected and enhanced across the Port Phillip and Westernport region.

It broadly describes these management activities, highlights the connections between them, and identifies targets for the future health and resilience of the region’s environment.

The strategy is intended to foster integration, efficiency and effectiveness. Its development and coordination is managed by Melbourne Water in collaboration with Traditional Owners and regional agencies, organisations, groups and communities.

Access the Regional Catchment Strategy 2021-27 

The Port Phillip and Western Port Regional Catchment Strategy is available as a website, enabling many more of the region’s 5 million people to access it anywhere, anytime.

Introducing the region

Four PPWCMA employees undertake planting at the Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve
Work crews at the Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve. Image courtesy Annette Ruzicka.

The Port Phillip and Westernport region is home to more than five million people and includes:

  • urban Melbourne
  • growth centres on the urban fringe
  • highly productive farming
  • forested parks and ranges
  • a network of rivers, wetlands and estuaries, which flow to our two valuable bays: Port Phillip Bay and Western Port. 

The region faces numerous, complex challenges including climate change, increasing urbanisation and population growth, and loss of biodiversity.

Developing the strategy

This Regional Catchment Strategy has previously been published three times: in 1997, 2004 and 2014. This fourth edition builds on 25 years of learning and experience in supporting collaborative achievement by councils, government agencies, public utilities, community organisations, businesses, farmers, landholders and citizens. 

A working draft of the strategy was developed throughout 2020 and 2021 in consultation with key stakeholder organisations, including:

  • Traditional Owners
  • government agencies and authorities
  • municipal councils
  • non-government organisations
  • community networks. 

Research and consultations focused on making sure the draft met government guidelines and provided a complete account of the policies and plans most relevant to natural resource management in this region. 

The strategy was approved by  Victorian Minister for Water in March 2023.

The strategy was originally managed by the Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority (PPWCMA), which was integrated into Melbourne Water in January 2022. Melbourne Water is now the coordinating agency.

Connection to Healthy Waterways Strategy 

The Port Phillip and Western Port Regional Catchment Strategy incorporates the Healthy Waterways Strategy and reflects the target outlines for water supply and use, waterways, wetlands and estuaries.

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