West Coast Port Phillip Bay
Often referred to as the Geelong Arm of Port Phillip Bay, the south-western end of Port Phillip Bay has an amazing and productive marine environment.
This area is home to mangrove communities, saltmarsh areas, seagrass meadows, drift algal beds, shallow rocky reefs and internationally significant waterbird habitats.
What are the key natural features of this area?
- Shallow seagrass beds line the southern and northern shores of the Geelong Arm of Port Phillip Bay.
- The shallow Corio Bay, less than nine metres deep, includes a Ramsar sites from Limeburners Bay to Point Wilson and at the northern end of Geelong Arm (including The Spit Wildlife Reserve).
- The intertidal and subtidal seagrass meadows (Heterozostera tasmanica, Zostera meulleri) off Clifton Springs and along the coast from Point Lillias to Kirk Point are important nursery areas for juvenile fish, including commercially important species such as King George whiting are found in nursery areas. These seagrass beds are of very high conservation value and are incredibly productive, supporting a variety of marine and estuarine species. A threatened Snapping Shrimp also makes its home in this sheltered environment.
- A unique drift algae community thrives in the sheltered environment of Wedge Point.
- Werribee River estuary is an important habitat for waterbirds.
- Limeburners Bay, one of three remaining mangrove communities in Port Phillip Bay, is a funnel-shaped estuary at the mouth of Hovells Creek that also has important saltmarsh habitats.
- Extensive saltmarsh areas. These important habitats are found from Point Lillias to Point Wilson and are an important habitat for the endangered Orange-Bellied Parrot.
Marine Protected Areas:
There are no marine protected areas in the west coast region of Port Phillip Bay.