Council commits to legally protect 130 hectares of Peninsula bio sites

Published on 24 July 2019

Conservation covenants - Mornington Peninsula .jpg

24 July 2019

Mornington Peninsula Shire and one of Victoria’s oldest conservation organisations, Trust for Nature, have joined forces to establish conservation covenants to protect Warringine Park and 92 Elizabeth Avenue, Capel Sound (Tootgarook Wetland), providing legal environmental protection for more than 130 hectares of the Peninsula.

Signed by Mornington Peninsula Shire Council and Trust for Nature, the covenants will be a permanent, legally-binding agreement over the titles of Warringine Park and areas of the Tootgarook Wetland.

On Thursday 18 July, Shire Mayor David Gill and Cerberus Ward Councillor Kate Roper joined Shire staff, representatives from Trust for Nature and community groups at Warringine Park to celebrate the covenants, which will ensure native vegetation on both properties is protected forever.

Warringine Park stretches from Hastings to Bittern and was declared a conservation park in 1994, forming part of the internationally significant Western Port Ramsar site.

The Shire has managed the park since 2006 and recently purchased land in Capel Sound to protect the significant biodiversity values of Tootgarook Wetland.

The new protections add to the Shire’s existing covenants over other areas of Tootgarook Wetland in Capel Sound and Peninsula Gardens in Boneo.

Shire Mayor David Gill said entering into conservation covenants for these reserves was an essential part of Council’s commitment to conservation of biodiversity and landscape values on the Peninsula.

“The Peninsula is home to 400 species of indigenous fauna and nearly 700 species of indigenous plants; our diverse environments need protection to remain resilient and healthy.

“We’re protecting these important natural assets by placing permanent legal protection on two pieces of significant Peninsula land. 

“This has been a combined effort from Council, Trust for Nature and our dedicated community groups including members of the former Warringine Park committee of management; Save Tootgarook community group and the Westernport Protection Council (WPPC) who have contributed significant work lobbying to establish Warringine Park”, Cr Gill concluded. 

Port Phillip and Westernport Manager at Trust for Nature, Ben Cullen described Councils move to permanently protect two of the most important sites on the Mornington Peninsula as a win for conservation.

“These protection efforts by Council will ensure more than 130 hectares of our most endangered species and communities will be protected forever.

“Species such as the Australasian Bittern, Swamp Skink, White-footed Dunnart, Lewin’s Rail and Leafy Twig-sedge are now protected for life.

“In addition to these species wetlands of both Tootgarook and Westernport Bay will be protected and buffered from future climate change impacts.

“The Shire has led the way in conservation actions by permanently preserving some of the Peninsula’s most unique and diverse habitats and has indicated they plan to complete more efforts to ensure a healthy and sustainable Mornington Peninsula”, concluded Mr Cullen.

Trust for Nature received funding from the Limb Foundation through the Bays and Islands project and the State Government to be able to place the covenants on title.

Private landholders interested in conservation and protecting their properties in perpetuity can contact Ben at: benc@tfn.org.au or phone 0407 044 821.     

Learn more about the Peninsula’s unique biodiversity and what the Shire is doing to protect it at: mornpen.vic.gov.au/biodiversity.

PHOTO CAPTION:

Names L-R: Felicity Kaufman and Lizzie Younger from Melbourne Water, Shire’s Natural Systems Project Officer Gerard Cook, Cr Roper, Mayor Gill, Chief Operating Officer at Trust for Nature Steve Thuan, Dave Hunt, Shire’s Team Leader Natural Systems Simon Thorning, Cathie Coleman, Anthony Fennell, Michael Mann and Port Phillip and Westernport Manager at Trust for Nature Ben Cullen.

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For media enquiries regarding Trust for Nature, please contact: Kathy Cogo, Media and Communications Manager, Trust for Nature, 0466 015 183.