Tootgarook Wetland Management Plan

Tootgarook Wetland Management Plan 2018

The Tootgarook Wetland Management Plan, adopted by Council on Monday, 14 May 2018, is an environmental management plan that forms part of the stewardship and advocacy role of Council in protecting and enhancing the Mornington Peninsula's biodiversity. The Plan contains specific recommended actions that seek to protect and conserve the valued ecosystem of the Tootgarook Wetland as well as promote the area as an ecotourism destination.

Tootgarook Wetland

Tootgarook Wetland is a 590-hectare, groundwater-dependent, freshwater wetland within the 4,480-hectare Chinamans Creek Catchment. As the largest groundwater-dependent ecosystem and freshwater marsh in the region, the Wetland is identified as a priority area under the Melbourne Water Healthy Waterways Strategy, and Port Phillip and Western Port Regional Catchment Strategy. It is also recognised by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning as a biosite of state significance and forms part of the internationally recognised Western Port Biosphere. While the Wetland is not currently a Ramsar-designated wetland, the Ramsar Nomination Feasibility Study commissioned by Council in June 2013 found that it arguably meets several listing criteria, having regard particularly to the presence of nationally listed endangered species including the Australasian Bittern.

While eight key values are associated with the Wetland including uniqueness, habitat, and rare flora and fauna, its integrity risks being compromised by nine key threats that include future development, intensive agriculture, and feral animals and environmental weeds. Therefore, Council commissioned environmental engineering specialist BMT in April 2015 to prepare an environmental management plan in partnership with Conservation Volunteers Australia with the purpose of addressing these risks to ensure that the Wetland continues to thrive as a healthy ecosystem for current and future generations.

Key Recommendations

  • Appointment of a professional ecologist/hydrogeologist to review the Wetland extent and boundary of Environmental Significance Overlay Schedule 30 (ESO30); 
  • Establishment of an ongoing Community Reference Group to share information and coordinate activities;
  • Development of a Community Participation Plan;
  • Recognition and support for good outcomes from existing public and private land management, including the implementation of existing Trust for Nature covenants (such as the major land holding in Boneo Park);
  • Rezoning of Council land at 92 Elizabeth Avenue, Capel Sound to the Public Conservation and Resource Zone (PCRZ);
  • Advocacy for completion of a feasibility study and environmental impact assessment in relation to the VicRoads freeway reservation, in the context of Council’s resolution to seek removal of the current freeway reservation and the investigation of alternatives;
  • Support further use of Trust for Nature covenants to protect areas of natural habitat;
  • Development of a Visitation and Promotion Plan to establish the Wetland as a passive recreation destination;
  • Development of an agreement between government agencies and community groups to coordinate environmental monitoring, research and information sharing; and
  • Undertaking of regular field surveys to monitor changes in key indicators of environmental health, including birdlife.

Download the Plan

Tootgarook Wetland Management Plan, May 2018(PDF, 29MB)

Further Information

Phone: 5950 1010

Email: strategic.planning.projects@mornpen.vic.gov.au