With more than 130 beaches and 50 million plus visitors annually, Port Phillip Bay is treasured by Victorians and visitors.
It is an access point to Melbourne’s ports, popular for fishing, sailing and swimming and is home to precious and unique flora and fauna.
These significant social, economic and environmental values are just some of the beneficial uses and assets that the Association of Bayside Municipalities works to enhance, advocate for and protect.
The ABM is the voice of local government for Port Phillip Bay, including upholding the community’s vision and values for the Bay environment, particularly around safety, the maintenance of clean beaches, ensuring appropriate water quality and protecting native terrestrial and marine life.
For example, during the negotiations for the Port of Melbourne Lease, the ABM’s advocacy helped secure an agreement for ongoing monitoring of Bay health, cessation of additional major dredging of shipping channels or widening/ deepening of the Bay entrance, and the establishment of a $10 million fund for the Bay.
The ABM is currently developing The Coastal Planning Guide, a practical guide for councils focussed on land use planning for coastal hazards and adaptation in the face of climate change and population growth.
Founded in 1974 by the 10 local government councils that border the bay, the ABM’s members are the frontline and ambassadors for the future protection and management of Port Phillip Bay.
Frankston City foreshore and coastline (SkyPics)
Port Phillip Bay
Port Phillip Bay attracts?6.9?million day visitors and 3.1 million overnight visitors each year.*
Commercially?alone, the recreational activity of tourists and locals results in?approximately $320 million in annual revenue for the Bay region.*
In?addition, there is a?strong and?important link between the quality of the coastal environment and the quality?of life for many Victorians.**
The coastal and marine environments support recreational and?commercial activities. Its rocky reefs, sandy shorelines, foreshore reserves?and rugged cliffs provide habitat and amenity, as?well as protection for?private and public coastal assets.
Across?this spectrum of users and values, the ABM, in partnership with other Bay?stakeholders, is focussed on protecting and sustainably managing the Bay for?future generations.
The likely impact of climate change on the?Bay is a significant focus for the ABM.
Increased wave action, storm surges and sea?level rise will alter sand movements and increase erosion rates. Combined with?population pressures, catchment degradation and?ageing?infrastructure the?impacts on our coastline will escalate in coming years.
Additionally, unprecedented population?growth will place further pressure on Port Phillip Bay as it becomes a?recreational beacon for not only coastal communities but the broader?Victorian?population.
Through its tools such as the Bay Blueprint?2070, the ABM seeks to lead discussion, promote policy change and advocate?action to address these impacts.
*Draft Port Phillip Bay Environmental Management?Plan, DELWP 2016
**?Victorian Coastal?Strategy, 2014
Port Phillip Bay's Ramsar listed wetlands
The Ramsar list is a list of Wetlands of International Importance. Port Phillip Bay is home to two Ramsar?listed wetlands totalling 23,158 hectares (Edithvale-Seaford and the?Western Shoreline of Port Phillip Bay and Bellarine Peninsula).
Port Phillip Bay history
Aboriginal?tribes that have lived for millenia on and around the Bay include the?Wathaurung, the Bunurong/Boon Wurrung, and the Wurundjeri. These tribes?are part of the?Kulin nation.
Victoria’s first?European settlement was established in 1803 at Sullivan Bay, near?Sorrento, 32 years before Melbourne was founded. There are many shipwrecks?and heritage?sites in the Bay associated with Victoria’s early seafaring?days.
Indicative map of foreshore managers in Port Phillip Bay
Source: adapted from Central Coastal Board, Central Regional Coastal Plan 2015-2020.
Coastal squeeze in Port Phillip Bay
The phenomenon of ‘coastal squeeze’ affects the Bay through a combination of climate and non-climate pressures (Pontee 2013). This ‘squeeze’ is caused by an increase in demand (population growth and development) for coastal resources, which are rapidly diminishing through land use changes and coastal erosion.
Changes in climate, sea level rise and storm surges contribute to coastal erosion and accelerate the degradation of coastal assets and values. Ocean acidification and salt water intrusion will impact the water quality, marine ecosystems and recreational value of our beaches, estuaries and waterways.
The compounding effect of coastal squeeze decreases the availability, amenity and usability of the coastline.? A greater understanding, and effective management of these issues is critical in managing climate adaptation risks into the future.
Pontee, N. 2013. Defining coastal squeeze: A discussion. Ocean & Coastal Management 84 204-207.
The Member councils of the ABM are:
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