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Boon, Paul I (2011) Saltmarshes. In: Understanding the Western Port Environment : A summary of current knowledge and priorities for future Research. Melbourne Water, Docklands, Vic, pp. 116-133.


Saltmarshes occur around much of the coast of Western Port, generally between the mangrove fringe on the seaward side and more terrestrial vegetation, such as Swamp Paperbarks and Manna Gum woodlands, on the landward side. There are about 1 000 ha of saltmarsh in Western Port, which is about the same area as there is of mangroves. The only larger coastal saltmarshes in Victoria are at Connewarre (at the mouth of the Barwon River), around Corner Inlet-Nooramunga, and in the Gippsland Lakes around Lake Wellington, Lake Reeve and Jack Smith Lake. A number of the larger saltmarshes in Western Port occur in protected areas, such as the Yaringa (980 ha), French Island(2 800 ha) and Churchill Island (670 ha) Marine National Parks. Saltmarshes in Western Port are likely to be very vulnerable to sea-level rise and other consequences of climate change, especially rising air and water temperatures. Saltmarshes have been progressively lost already, due mostly to development for agriculture and industry, around the western and northern shores of Western Port. We identify several research gaps, including better understanding of the ways tidal inundation affects waterlogging and salinity regimes in saltmarshes, and in particular how they affect the saltmarsh plant communities which provide food and habitat for terrestrial and aquatic animals. Much more research is needed on the way that terrestrial (e.g. bats and bushbirds) and aquatic (e.g. waterbirds and shorebirds) use saltmarshes. The susceptibility or resilience of saltmarshes to threats such as nutrient enrichment, oil pollution, weed invasion (e.g. by Spartina), altered salinity and hydrological regimes, and climate change is also an important research gap.

Item type Book Section
Official URL
ISBN 9781921911163
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 0502 Environmental Science and Management
Historical > SEO Classification > 9606 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > Institute for Sustainability and Innovation (ISI)
Keywords ResPubID23307, environmental mapping, wetlands, wetland ecology, coastal saltmarsh, land-claims, shrublands, climate change, aquatic systems, sediment, sedimentation, conservation, native vegetation, taxa, Western Port, estuarine wetland, Victoria
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