Week 2: Information series for the State of the Marine and Coastal Environment 2021 Report

Over nine weeks the Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability is exploring a range of marine and coastal environment themes from Victoria’s first State of the Marine and Coastal Environment 2021 Report. This week’s focus is water quality and catchment inputs in Victoria.

Our coastal communities and marine environments are interconnected. The report shines a light on the health of our marine and coastal environments and makes connections between communities and water quality - from catchments to reefs.

Commissioner Dr Gillian Sparkes AM states, “We know that poor water quality in marine environments has a negative impact on marine ecosystems. It also affects how humans use and enjoy these environments. We also know that runoff from the catchment is a major pollutant for marine environments.”

“The State of the Marine and Coastal Environment 2021 Report reinforces the need for a catchment to reefs approach to water quality management to protect our marine and coastal environments”.

The report presents the following water quality ratings for the regions assessed:

  • In Port Phillip Bay, water quality is rated as good or very good each year since monitoring and reporting began in 2002. 
  • Western Port has been rated good every year since monitoring and reporting began in 2000 except in 2017 (fair). 
  • Eastern Gippsland Lakes (Lake King and Lake Victoria) has been good in six of the past seven years, while in Lake Wellington it has been poor for the past three years, and poor or very poor in seven of the past 10 years.  
  • Seagrass extent in Western Port is impacted by turbidity caused by sediment loads and variation in water depth. Five of the nine estuaries flowing into Western Port and assessed for water quality in the 2021 Index of Estuary Condition received a rating of very poor.  
  • Effects of stormwater vary across Port Phillip Bay’s catchments. In the Dandenong catchment stream health is poor.  
  • Water quality in Corner Inlet and Nooramunga is not routinely measured.

You can find the status of water quality for the regions assessed on our interpretive website. Here you will also discover resources including fact sheets on the biodiversity, water quality and climate change impacts assessments from the report.

The report coincides with the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030). The decade supports efforts to reverse the cycle of decline in ocean health and gather ocean stakeholders worldwide behind a common framework that will ensure science can fully support countries in creating improved ocean conditions.
Follow us over the coming weeks, to learn more about Victoria’s marine and coastal environment. We will explore the full range of topics covered in the State of the Marine and Coastal Environment 2021 Report including coastal settlements, significant landscapes, cultural heritage, tourism, agriculture, coastal infrastructure, and energy generation.

Discover more about the State of the Marine and Coastal Environment 2021