400 new reasons to love the Mornington Peninsula

Published on 02 November 2018

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You may know the Mornington Peninsula as a destination for sandy beaches, wineries and fine dining.

A new report prepared for Mornington Peninsula Shire has revealed the Peninsula is also home to some of the state’s most significant biodiversity including over 400 species of native animals and almost one fifth of Victoria’s flora.

For the first time, information on the Peninsula’s biodiversity values, their extent, condition and threats, has been brought together in the State of Biodiversity Report.

Drawing on data from scientific, government and community sources, the comprehensive report is essential reading for anyone interested in the Peninsula’s natural environment.

The array of local wildlife includes:

  • 11 frogs – including the nationally endangered Growling Grass Frog and more common and widespread species like the Spotted Marsh Frog and Southern Brown Tree Frog.
  • 25 reptiles – from the better-known species like Blue-tongue Lizard and Eastern Brown Snake, to more cryptic animals like the Jacky Lizard and threatened Swamp Skink.
  • 31 fish – including two endangered species - the Dwarf Galaxid, a tiny freshwater fish which is recognised by its striking iridescent stripes, and the Flatback Mangrovegoby, a locally abundant species associated with estuarine waters amongst saltmarsh and mangroves.
  • 34 mammals – including the easily recognisable Echidnas, Koalas and Swamp Wallabies to lesser known ground dwelling mammals like the White-footed Dunnart, Southern Brown Bandicoot and Swamp Rat.
  • 293 species of birds – from the tiny Hooded Plovers that nest on the ocean beaches of Rye to the impressively large Powerful Owl that hunts through forested areas; our bird fauna is the most diverse group of animals on the Peninsula.

20% of native animals found on the Peninsula are threatened and 10 species are now considered to be locally extinct. Those species which have suffered the greatest declines are ground-dwelling grassland and woodland birds and small mammals.

Mornington Peninsula Shire Mayor Councillor Bryan Payne said “this report has helped confirm a lot of information we were aware of and it’s great to have that easily available to our community.

“We need everyone to take an interest in biodiversity and take action to ensure our local plants and wildlife are protected for years to come”.

The report also highlights key statistics around biodiversity on the Peninsula including:

  • 700 species of indigenous plants (6% of which are threatened)
  • 22,00 ha (or 30%) of remaining native vegetation
  • 65 vegetation types (including 5 threatened vegetation communities)
  • Major threats including land clearance, environmental weeds and feral animals.

The report has been prepared to assist the Shire in developing a Biodiversity Conservation Plan, establishing strategies and actions to help achieve best practice management for the protection and enhancement of biodiversity on the Peninsula.

A draft of this plan is expected to be released for public exhibition in early 2019.

Want to know more about biodiversity on the Peninsula?

View the report or sign up to stay in touch online at: mornpen.vic.gov.au/biodiversity