Dandenong catchment

​The Dandenong catchment lies south-east of Melbourne. It covers an area of 881 square kilometres, consisting of:

Dandenong catchment area
  • mountainous, forested areas – including the Dandenong Ranges – which provide habitat for native plants and animals, including the rare swamp skink and platypus
  • farmland (mainly grazing, as well as horticulture and poultry farming), which is widespread in Bangholme and Narre Warren East
  • residential suburbs, including some parklands that support native plants and animals
  • industrial areas, which occupy large areas around Dandenong, Bayswater and Braeside

The catchment boundary coincides with the Dandenong system.

Rivers and creeks

The catchment’s major waterway is Dandenong Creek, which begins in Doongalla Forest in the Dandenong Ranges and flows about 53 kilometres south into Mordialloc Creek and Patterson River.

​Dandenong Creek’s major tributaries include:
  • Mast Gully Creek
  • Bungalook Creek
  • Ferntree Gully Creek
  • Dobsons Creek
  • Monbulk Creek
  • Ferny Creek
  • Corhanwarrabul Creek
  • Blind Creek
  • Mile Creek
​Other waterways include:
  • Hallam Valley Creek
  • Eastern Contour Drain
  • Rodds Drain
  • Eumemmerring Creek
  • Eel Race Drain
  • Kananook Creek

Rivers and creeks have been extensively modified for flood protection, most notably with the draining of the Carrum Carrum Swamp in the late 1800s.

Despite this, threatened plant and animal species are present, including Yarra gums, dwarf galaxias, swamp skinks and growling grass frogs. Some natural features also remain, such as the internationally significant Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands, which provide habitat for a variety of birds and wildlife.

Waterway health challenges include balancing the uses and values they support – such as flood protection, habitat and social uses – with urbanisation, urban growth and farming.

Condition of key values

​Key value Condition Details
​Current: very low Platypuses have declined since the 1990s, probably due to the drought. They are found in several locations but populations are small and at high risk of extinction. We aim to stabilise them over the next 20 years and allow for long-term increases.
20-year: very low
Long-term: low
​Current: high Fish species are highly diverse, particularly in the lower system, though migratory species have been found in the upper region. This suggests some fish can migrate between them despite physical obstacles in waterways.
20-year: very high
Long-term: very high
​Current: very high Frog species are highly diverse, and we aim to increase their distribution and abundance by improving habitat on floodplains.
20-year: very high
Long-term: very high
​Current: high Bird species has become slightly more diverse since the 1990s, with the number and proportion of native birds in a high condition. We aim to further improve this by improving habitat on floodplains.
20-year: very high
Long-term: very high
​Current: very low Overall vegetation is in very low condition, though the upper reaches have some very high quality and intact vegetation. We aim to improve the upper and lower sections significantly over the next 20 years.
20-year: moderate
Long-term: high
​Current: low Macroinvertebrates are in a low condition. Over the long-term, significant urban drainage renewal and vegetation works will increase the score to moderate.
20-year: low
Long-term: moderate
​Current: moderate Amenity enjoyed from waterways varies widely, with vegetation one of the key influencing factors. We are targeting this for improvement.
20-year: high
Long-term: very high


Did you know?

More than 2,500 Aboriginal sites have been recorded in the Dandenong catchment, with most near waterways. There are also shell middens along the coast.


Key facts

  • Area:
    881 square kilometres
  • Traditional owners:
    Wurundjeri, Bunurong and Boon Wurrung people

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