Mornington Peninsula and Western Port Biosphere Reserve
Did you know Mornington Peninsula is recognised by UNESCO?
The entire Mornington Peninsula Shire and Western Port Biosphere Reserve are part of a global UNESCO network, connected to 738 Biosphere Reserves across 134 countries. The Biosphere Reserve is one of only five in Australia, and the only one in south-eastern Australia.
UNESCO Biosphere Reserve status recognises places around the world with outstanding natural environments, where communities are committed to working together to live sustainably.
Biosphere reserves are living, learning places. They are used to showcase innovative approaches to conservation and sustainable development and act as a regional centre for scientific research and education on natural and managed ecosystems.
Western Port – an internationally significant wetland at the heart of the Biosphere Reserve
Western Port is a natural wonder. Its outstanding biodiversity is founded on a mosaic of marine, intertidal, coastal, wetland and island environments. Western Port is part of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and is also a Ramsar site – a wetland of international importance. The Ramsar Convention aims to halt and reverse the worldwide loss of wetlands and to conserve those that remain.
Western Port’s shores are fringed by some of the world’s most southerly mangrove forests, vast intertidal mudflats, Victoria’s largest saltmarshes and sandy beaches. Beneath the water, seagrass meadows grow across Western Port’s northern and western arms around French Island. They provide critical habitat and energy for fish and the invertebrates they live on.
Birdwatchers and scientists have counted 115 species of waterbirds, waders and seabirds. They account for 65% of Victoria’s bird species diversity and over 30 migratory waterbird species listed under international conservation agreements.
Western Port Biosphere Foundation
The Mornington Peninsula and Western Port Biosphere Reserve is overseen by the Western Port Biosphere Foundation.
Mornington Peninsula Shire is proud to be part of the Western Port Biosphere Foundation. There are four other Councils that are partly within the reserve: Bass Coast Shire Council, Cardinia Shire Council, City of Casey and Frankston City Council.
The Western Port Biosphere Foundation carries out projects to test ways of balancing conservation with development. Mornington Peninsula Shire has liaised with the Foundation on a range of initiatives, including a current priority project Blue Carbon.