The Western Port Biosphere Reserve has been awarded a six-year grant of $2.267 million under round one of the Australian Government’s Biodiversity Fund.
The grant will fund landscape-scale biodiversity planning, revegetation and pest control to connect and improve habitat corridors across the Western Port Biosphere Reserve region.
The region includes Western Port and the five local government areas that together cover most of the Western Port catchment – Bass Coast Shire, Cardinia Shire, City of Casey, City of Frankston and Mornington Peninsula Shire.
Under the grant, a multi-stakeholder steering committee will develop a regional biodiversity action plan, enhance key reserves, revegetate landscape gaps to establish habitat links, improve low-cost integrated pest control, and provide and audit carbon storage with new enabling systems.
Partners include Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority, the region’s five local governments, Department of Sustainability and Environment, Melbourne Water, Parks Victoria, Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne, South East Councils Climate Change Alliance, Trust for Nature, Cardinia Environment Coalition, Bass Coast Landcare Network, Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information, Natural Resources Conservation League of Victoria, Chisholm Institute of TAFE and others.
The Western Port Biosphere Reserve is pleased to be able to attract funding for such an important landscape-scale project, says executive officer Cecelia Witton.
“We are looking forward to working with like-minded community groups, land-owners and volunteers to connect habitat and provide urgent protection for the region’s fragile biodiversity.”
UNESCO biosphere reserves aim to foster conservation and sustainable development. The Western Port Biosphere Reserve was designated in 2002 because it has outstanding natural values, including two Ramsar wetlands of international importance, highly diverse ecosystems, and many threatened species and habitats on the fringe of Melbourne. Habitat loss and fragmentation are major threats as Melbourne’s population grows and the climate changes.