Western Port has long provided important social and economic services to Victoria. However, it is also of critical ecological value with mangrove, saltmarsh and seagrass habitats supporting a range of wildlife including migratory waterbirds of international significance under the RAMSAR Convention.
One of the biggest risks to Western Port’s ecological values is sediment. To address this issue, Melbourne Water has developed a three-dimensional hydrodynamic computer model. The Western Port hydrodynamic model is capable of running long-term scenarios to test how reducing sediment in the bay will affect ecological outcomes such as seagrass health. It also helps to assess the appropriate water quality targets for this environment, in turn helping preserve the long-term ecological sustainability of Western Port.
The project aligns with Melbourne Water’s collaboration with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and the Victorian Environment Protection Authority (EPA) in revising the State Environment Protection Policy (Waters of Victoria). The SEPP sets the framework for government agencies, businesses and the community to work together to protect and rehabilitate Victoria’s surface water environments.
The work done to date on this important project has ensured that both DELWP and EPA have confidence in the model outcomes.