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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands


The Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands is a large (300 hectares) parkland, 35 km south of the Melbourne CBD.

Wetlands are among the most productive and most threatened ecosystems in the world.

The Edithvale and Seaford Wetlands are a remnant of the once extensive Carrum Carrum Wetland that covered about 3000 hectares, stretching from Mordialloc in the north to Frankston in the south.

The area is part of the geomorphological feature known as the Carrum Lowlands or Sunklands. At the time of European settlement, these freshwater and brackish wetlands were reported to support a diverse and abundant flora and fauna, including Brolga and Magpie Goose, both of which are now locally extinct.

Drainage of the Carrum Carrum Wetlands commenced last century. Drainage was largely successful, enabling colonisation and farming. Some major floods exceeded the capabilities of this basic drainage system, resulting in extensive losses. Subsequent works programs augmented the drainage and flood mitigation assets, and today the area is heavily protected, enabling substantial urbanisation to occur with at least one-in-100-year flood protection.

The Edithvale and Seaford Wetlands have diverse habitats with both fresh and brackish elements.

They are of significance as a remnant of the formerly extensive wetland type for the abundance of birds they support, particularly the migratory species, and as a demonstration and research site to show how disturbed systems can retain significance through careful management.

The remnant wetland areas are the largest remaining natural wetlands of their type in the Port Phillip and Westernport basins.

The Edithvale and Seaford Wetlands have been registered by the Ramsar Convention as a wetland of international importance. A management plan has been prepared and priority actions are being implemented.

The registration demonstrates that Melbourne Water can minimise the environmental impact of stormwater run-off and manage the risks to environmentally high value fauna and flora communities within its assets. The process has also demonstrated that Melbourne Water involves stakeholders and the community in its activities and projects.

The wetlands at Seaford and Edithvale are owned and managed by Melbourne Water, while the surrounding lands are owned and managed by the City of Frankston and the City of Kingston.

Seven thousand years ago the Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands were under the waters of Port Phillip following the melting of the last Great Ice Age.

Before white settlement, Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands were thick with wildlife and supported large numbers of the Bunerong Aboriginal tribe. Edithvale Wetlands currently support a thriving mob of Eastern Grey Kangaroos.

Not many years ago, the Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands were generally considered useless swamps too difficult to develop. Today they are recognized as precious community assets.

A new Discovery Centre has been constructed, including educational exhibits, viewing platforms, and office space, complemented by an interpretive wetlands trail and bird hides. It is open on weekends, and staffed by volunteers.

The Friends of Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands Inc were formed in 1988 and have been responsible for making many improvements, including the planting of thousands of trees.

The 10 km Long Beach Trail passes through the parkland.

I visited these interesting Wetlands on October 29, 2007.

My photos of the excursion are at Edithvale-Wetlands Album

Further information is available at

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous6:28 PM

    Thank you Bob for such a well-informed and balanced description of the Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands. I live close by the wetlands and know some of its history and how important preservation of the wetlands and that history really are.

    Kim, Bonbeach resident