The Gippsland Lakes are a series of coastal lagoons and fringing wetlands that cover approximately 60,000 hectares; fed by five major rivers spread over a catchment of over 20,000 square kilometres connected to the ocean at Lakes Entrance.
The lakes and catchments support a diversity of landscapes with high conservation value. The Lakes themselves are listed as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention. The lakes are central to tourism for the region, supporting commercial and recreational fisheries, boating, camping and visitation with important Aboriginal and European cultural values.
The main lakes and the fringing wetlands are constantly changing; caused by seasonal variations and longer term weather effects like droughts and floods. Climate change is also predicted to alter the system further in the future. The Gippsland Lakes will continue to adapt to the changing conditions and, through management effort, key values can be maintained and new values are likely to emerge.
Implementing a plan together
The Gippsland Lakes system extends between Sale in the west and Lakes Entrance in the east, spanning the regional boundary between the West and East Gippsland catchment management authorities. The lakes are listed under the Ramsar Convention as a wetland of international importance. They support substantial numbers of waterbirds, often during critical life stages and through drought. They support threatened flora and fauna and are an important site for fish populations. The lakes are also highly valued for recreational pursuits such as boating and fishing, that help support the economy of the Gippsland region.
The Gippsland Lakes have a clear direction for management set out in the Gippsland Lakes Ramsar Site Management Plan. It is supported by the Gippsland Lakes Priorities Plan that identifies the highest priority management actions for the next five years (2016 – 2021).
The coordination groups continue to guide the delivery of projects on the ground. The Gippsland Lakes Delivery Managers, a group of operational decision makers from across the catchment, are leading regional partners in the coordination of projects focussed on priority areas across the lakes.
The successful delivery of priority projects is being achieved by fostering cooperation between Traditional Owners, land and waterway managers, community groups, individual landowners and other regional partners. The involvement of this wide range of people; guided by clear priorities, helps to maximise the benefits to the lakes.
Project Objectives: The long-term objective for the management of the Gippsland Lakes is to:
- maintain or improve the health of the Gippsland Lakes.
- foster cooperation and coordination between agencies and organisations with an interest in the health of the Gippsland Lakes.
- promote awareness of, and participation by, communities in the management of the Gippsland Lakes.
- maximise outcomes through leveraging investments.
This will be achieved through coordination and cooperation between government agencies, Traditional Owners, visitors to the area and the broader community.
To find out more about the work the CMA’s are undertaking on the Gippsland Lakes please visit www.loveourlakes.net.au