Glenelg Estuary and Discovery Bay Ramsar

Gunditjmara people have a living association with the Ramsar site, which has great cultural significance for them. It is part of their Koonang (Sea) and Bocara Woorrowarook (River Forest) Country. The site also supports recreational and tourism activities, including sightseeing, walking, camping and recreational fishing.

The Ramsar site has a range of distinct wetland types that are both hydrologically and ecologically connected. The connection between the marine, estuarine and freshwater components is significant for fish migration and reproduction. This includes the mulloway which recent studies have shown, feeds in the Glenelg Estuary and migrates up to 400 km to the Murray Mouth to spawn. The site also supports a large population of the ancient greenling (Hemiphlebia mirabilis), the only member of this superfamily of damselfly globally.

Map of the Glenelg Hopkins region, depicting location for the Glenelg Estuary and Discovery Bay Ramsar Site.

Through annual priority action planning and implementation, recreational access to the estuary has improved, pest plant and animal threats to shorebirds and waterbirds have reduced and the hydrology for these important groundwater dependent ecosystems is better known. 

The outstanding natural, cultural and recreational values of the area have been maintained through over 400 ha of pest animal control (fox and carp) and 3,800 ha of woody and non-woody weed control – both with challenging access conditions. Recreational access has improved to the dynamic estuary conditions by replacing Simson’s Landing boat access with a modernised floating platform. The ecological understanding of the site has increased through 28 separate monitoring and assessment tasks over four years, covering more than 6,000 ha of assessment areas.

A strong alliance of the responsible agencies, founded on the two years of negotiation to develop the Ramsar listing criteria, followed by three years of coordination and implementation is working in the best interests of all members. Victorian and Australian Government funding opportunities are delivering shared benefits through management and visitor access to the Site.

PartnersParks Victoria, DELWP, Victorian Fisheries Authority, Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation, Glenelg Shire Council, Souther Rural Water, Nelson Coastcare
InvestorsDELWP and Australian Governments Regional Land Partnerships
Related StrategiesGlenelg Hopkins Waterway Strategy 2014-2022, Ngootyong Gunditj Ngootyong Mara South West Management Plan, Glenelg Estuary and Discovery Bay Site Management Plan