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Queenscliffe Herald Article - February 2008

Swan Bay Integrated Catchment Management Project

Sue Longmore, Coastal Officer, Swan Bay Integrated Catchment Management Committee

Swan Bay Integrated Catchment Management Committee (SBICMC) is a network of groups protecting the Bellarine Peninsula and marine environments through catchment care. Each month this column will showcase different groups in the network, highlighting their participation in the Swan Bay Integrated Catchment Management Project (SBICMP).

One of the strengths of the SBICMC is the mix of community and other groups represented on the committee. Cross-boundary projects can happen readily in such an environment with good synergies created. City of Greater Geelong, Borough of Queenscliff and foreshore managers Barwon Coast and Bellarine Bayside all have representation on the SBICMC.

Barwon Coast welcomes the opportunity to participate in education programs with SBICMC. The ‘Adopt a Dune’ program in the Ocean Grove dunes is popular each year. Year 7 students from Bellarine Secondary College assist with dune stabilisation through brush-matting of eroding dunes and revegetation with indigenous plants. For Year 8 students a fun-filled Environment Festival focussing on the natural communities of the Bellarine Peninsula -people, plants and animals - has become a regular event. Barwon Coast also provides much valued administrative support to SBICMC.

Barwon Coast and City of Greater Geelong are keen partners in the Bridal Creeper Biocontrol Working Group facilitated by SBICMP. Innovative programs, of aerial spraying of rust fungus spore-water in thick dune woodland between Pt. Lonsdale and Breamlea, have been successfully undertaken to control the spread of Bridal Creeper, a weed of national significance,

A recent collaboration between SBICMP, the two local governments, Parks Victoria and others, is halting the spread of Spiny Rush, a noxious weed, into saltmarsh at Swan Bay and its connecting wetlands.

City of Greater Geelong also supports SBICMP through their Land Stewardship program. This assists SBICMP to facilitate sustainable land management outcomes on public and private land and offer educational programs such as the ‘Adopt a Wetland’ program. Through this program local schools assist in the care of the chain of wetlands linking to Swan Bay.  Habitat links are restored and nutrient run-off reduced through revegetation along stormwater channels and wetlands between Ocean Grove and Pt. Lonsdale including the Bonnyvale and Emily Street wetlands and wetlands on private property.

The Borough of Queenscliffe has partnered SBICMC in rehabilitation of the Dog Beach dune blow-out and weeding and revegetation of Coastal Moonah Woodland in The Narrows. Community involvement in these programs has been fantastic. The Borough of Queenscliffe has recently provided ongoing office space, materials and meeting facilities for SBICMC staff.

Bellarine Bayside is a recent partner to the SBICMC. They have provided assistance with the Coastal Car Safari, a community awareness event, and provided input into noxious weed issues on the Bellarine Peninsula.

Next month - local landcare / coastcare groups will be featured.

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