Connector Newsletter – Issue 16

January – March 2018

From the Executive Officer

When you read this, we will already be halfway through January 2018, where does the time go?!

I am pleased to be able to say the Memorandum of Understanding with the five Councils of the Biosphere has now been formalised with all parties signing the MoU. Thank you to everyone for their input and hard work to achieve this final document.

With Growing Connections now acquitted and the Pilot Water Stewardship Project complete, our focus is on obtaining funding to expand on the results achieved under these programs,

While work continues on the Ramsar Values Project and CEEM (Collective Effort Environmental Management), with several funding avenues being explored we anticipate our efforts will be rewarded with positive outcomes.

I look forward to 2018 being a year of progress and continued positive outcomes for the Biosphere Foundation.

Cecelia Witton, Executive Officer, Western Port Biosphere

Water Stewardship

Well one busy period replaced by another since our last report! Following the hectic period leading up to our first Water Stewardship Forum, we have had a busy time working with new participants, developing new information for two new catchments (Chinamans Creek Catchment – which flows into Tootgarook Swamp – and Phillip Island) to support two new water stewards (both landholders) to our program in these new catchments.

Recently joined the program is Boneo Park,, who own and manage a large section of Tootgarook Swamp as well as run an equestrian centre adjacent to the swamp. They are looking to maintain the excellent water quality within the swamp by ensuring run-off and groundwater inputs are protected.

Also we have had Bimbadeen Farm,, join the program (and become a Biosphere member). Bimbadeen is a multi-faceted enterprise running beef cattle, free range chickens, accommodation and farm tours. They are also innovators in carbon farming and are looking to document and refine their water management on-farm through sustained and improved practices. The farm also supports many species of wildlife through their already extensive tree planting program and other initiatives.

We have had strong interest from other landholders and organisations on Phillip Island and hope to run a short information session on the Island in the near future, so I would encourage landholders and others on Phillip Island to contact the Biosphere office and express your interest in attending such a session. That said, we now have information across a large area of the Biosphere so if you are within the municipalities of Mornington Peninsula, Frankston, Casey, Cardinia and Bass Coast, we would love to hear from you so we can discuss the benefits of implementing water stewardship on your property or operation. Further, if you are involved in a Landcare or conservation group with members who may be interested in water stewardship, our project officer Lance Lloyd would be happy to consider attending one of your events and speaking briefly about the Water Stewardship program.

Contact: Lance Lloyd, Water Stewardship Project Officer

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 03 5979 2167

Lifesearch 2017 Winners

At the AGM of the Western Port Biosphere on 16 November 2017, winners of Lifesearch were presented with their prizes.

The Lifesearch shield for the school with the most observations was won by Newhaven College, and Lachlan Vize of Moorooduc Primary School won the individual prize.

Victorian Environment Friends Network
Best Friend Award 2018 – Call for Nominations

The 2018 VEFN Best Friend Award will kick off earlier next year. We are in the process of appointing a new Judging Panel in conjunction with Chair, Janet Bolitho.

Details of the new Panel will be available in February 2018, together with revised selection criteria and nomination form.

Nominations will close in late June and the Award ceremony will be held in late August.

Our Best Friend Award is designed to recognise volunteers who make an outstanding contribution through exceptional dedication as a Friend.

For those who receive an award, it has particular significance knowing that nominations are made by your peers; members of your own Friends group, who know better than most the personal dedication that is required.

If there is someone in your Friends group who deserves special recognition for the dedication and service they have shown over at least 10 years, start your nomination process now.

via Victorian Environment Friends Network

Detox your home – Free annual drop-off service for household chemicals

‘Detox your home’ is a safe, free and easy-to-use service to dispose of common household chemicals to reduce the risk of poisoning, environmental pollution and bushfire hazards.

Household chemicals can be dangerous, especially for children and pets. In fact, they are one of the most common causes of accidental poisoning. The ‘Detox your home’ drop-off service is an opportunity to reduce this risk, by getting rid of unwanted or out-of-date toxic chemicals, like solvents, poisons and cleaning products.

Frankston City Council, in partnership with Sustainability Victoria, is urging residents to take part in the annual ‘Detox your home’ household chemical collection day on Saturday 3 February 2018, 8am to 4pm.

When: Saturday 3 February, 8am – 4pm
Where: Skye – site address provided upon registration.

Registration: Call 1300 363 744 or visit

Registration is required to manage traffic flow and avoid queues on the day.

The chemicals collected are recycled or used for other purposes such as energy recovery wherever possible. What can’t be recycled or used is safely stored in secure landfills in accordance with Environment Protection Agency (EPA) Victoria requirements.

For further information, including a full list of items accepted on the day, visit

Paint, household batteries and fluorescent lights can be disposed of free-of-charge throughout the year at the Frankston Regional Recycling and Recovery Centre (FRRRC), open 7 days, 8am–4pm, 20 Harold Road, Skye.

via Frankston City Council

Solar Panels and Batteries – is now the time?

Free information session

Join us and other interested locals to get free independent facts and advice from an expert energy analyst with the Alternative Technology Association. Keiran Price has worked on numerous projects assessing the benefits of solar installations for residences, businesses and local governments.

The session will clarify some of the issues and confusion around solar panels and battery storage. Find out when is the right time for you to invest in this exciting technology, and have many of your questions answered by someone who isn’t trying to sell you a product.

When: Tuesday 20 February, 7 – 8.30pm

Where: Langwarrin Community Centre, 2 Lang Road, Langwarrin

Bookings are essential.

This session is hosted by Frankston City Council.

via Frankston City Council

Mornington Peninsula Shire Media Release

Protecting Tootgarook Wetlands

15 January 2018

Mornington Peninsula Shire Council has moved to bolster and safeguard Tootgarook Wetlands.

Council compulsorily acquired a seventy-acre lot (92 Elizabeth Avenue, Capel Sound) with the intent of integrating the parcel of land into the broader wetland area.

The lot forms part of the Tootgarook Wetlands – a 590 hectare area of significant environmental and cultural values and home to more than 240 indigenous plant species and a variety of fauna, including internationally significant birdlife.

Mornington Peninsula Shire Mayor Councillor Bryan Payne said Tootgarook Wetlands provides significant conservation, social and amenity benefits for the Mornington Peninsula and the broader community.

“As the local council, it is our responsibility to protect and enhance these important areas of our environment for future generations.

“This parcel of land has high wetland values suitable for rehabilitation and integration into the broader Tootgarook Wetlands area.

“Together with local residents and community groups, we are determined to protect this important area,” said Councillor Payne.

Seawinds Ward Councillor Antonella Celi said “this is fantastic for the many community groups who have worked with council to advocate for the protection of this land within the Tootgarook Wetland. I look forward to continuing my work with the local community to ensure this land is appropriately managed”.

Seawinds Ward Councillor Frank Martin added “the acquisition of this land will enable the Shire to retain and preserve the significant biodiversity values, natural vegetation and wildlife on the southern peninsula for our community”.

Seawinds Ward Councillor Simon Brooks concluded “we can now work with the community to develop some definite directions for this land and the greater swamp. This will provide great opportunities to raise the profile of the swamp with the community and to have it as a centrepiece of our natural systems”.

Mornington Peninsula Shire Council acquired the land under the Land Acquisition and Compensation Act 1986.

Mornington Peninsula Shire has also been working with the community on the development of a draft Management Plan for the wetlands.

The Draft Tootgarook Wetland Management Plan aims to ensure that the environmental importance of the wetland is realised.

The plan sets out strategies for the use, development and management of land in the Wetland and the supporting catchment.

It is anticipated a draft of the plan will be considered by Council in early 2018 with the intent of placing the draft on exhibition for further community comment.

A Notice of Acquisition was published in the Victorian Government Gazette on 11 January 2018.

Stay tuned for more information at

via Mornington Peninsula Shire

Remember, World Wetlands Day: Friday 2 February, 2018

Half of humanity about 4 billion people live in urban areas toay. By 2050 that proportion will reach 66% as people move to cities in search of jobs and a vibrant social life. Cities accound for around 80% of global economic output. As cities expand and demand for land increases, the tendency is to encroach on wetlands, they are degraded, filled in and built upon. Yet when left intact or restored, urban wetlands make cities liveable:

  • Reduce flooding
  • Replenish drinking water
  • Filter waste and improve water quality
  • Improve urban air quality
  • Promote human well-being
  • Enable people to earn a living

In the spotlight…

In this issue we talk with Sally Jacka, the Biosphere’s Project Officer:

Tell us a bit about your current role

I am a Project Officer with a hand in various Biosphere research and community engagement projects. I liaise with agencies and experts in their fields to develop and deliver workshops with the aim of increasing community understanding of the importance of, and how to protect, the Western Port Ramsar wetland. Other assignments have included setting motion-sensing cameras and analysing and recording fauna images for biodiversity monitoring, working with a contractor and landholders on a fox control program and assisting with report preparation.

What led you to become an ecologist?

The natural environment has always fascinated me. I began my career as a technical assistant in the Botany Department at La Trobe University, then in Fisheries at Arthur Rylah Institute. It was here that I discovered a love for cartography, which I pursued for many years, until moving to Darwin. At that time, the Northern Territory was like a new frontier for people interested in ecology and I was inspired to study Environmental Science at Charles Darwin University.

Why are your projects important to you?

I sincerely believe that land management that is sensitive to the natural environment is the single most important issue today for the well-being of the planet and for life to continue into the future. Research and engaging community members are the two most critical aspects for success of environmental and land management projects.

What are you most proud of achieving with the Biosphere’s Program?

I have developed a positive rapport with landholders and other community members, engaging them in land management activities. It is a pleasure to see the passion and hard work of many, and I feel rewarded if I can help them, in any small way, achieve their goals, which, in-turn, benefits the broader environment.

Mornington Peninsula Landcare Network

What a year it has been for Landcare on the Mornington Peninsula! The Mornington Peninsula Landcare Network (MPLN) received $300,000 from the Victorian State Government’s ‘Our Catchments, Our Communities’ initiative (via the Port Phillip and Western Port Catchment Management Authority – PPWCMA) for our ‘Greens Bush to Arthurs Seat Biolink’ project. Michele Sabto and Virginia Carter continued to roll out our biolink planning project, ‘Linking the Mornington Peninsula Landscape’ in the Red Hill South and Dunns Creek Landcare areas. We’ve received a $10,000 ‘Ripe for Change’ grant to complement the ‘Grazefert’ soil fertility project we are running in the Moorooduc Plains region with the PPWCMA, MP Shire and Agriculture Victoria and $10,000 from ESSO for a trailer with equipment.

This year, I’ve focussed on assisting two of our Landcare groups in their renewal process – Balcombe Moorooduc Landcare Group and the Mornington Peninsula Equine Landcare Group.

I’ve been working on another mailout of the “Small Rural Property Guide” to all residents who have purchased properties greater than 20 acres on the Mornington Peninsula in the past two years. David Maddocks is working with volunteer Jethro Sallmann to finalise the MPLN’s much anticipated “Weed Calendar” – big thanks to Jethro!

I’ve also enjoyed assisting groups with their grant applications. Congratulations to Southwest Mornington Peninsula Landcare Group for receiving $30,000 from the PPWCMA for their project “Re-establishing significant roadside vegetation near Peninsula Gardens Bushland Reserve” and Manton & Stony Creeks Landcare Group for receiving funds for their ‘Punty Lane Biolink’ through the Melbourne Water Community Grant.

Finally, we are working on raising the profile of MPLN and Landcare on the Peninsula in 2018, through the development of a website and planning a grant application for Landcare signage across the peninsula.

The GB2AS project is now well underway. Some figures on the project to date:

22 properties now part of the biolink project

Volunteer from Sporting Shooters Association is controlling foxes and rabbits

Winter and spring bird surveys undertaken by the Mornington Peninsula branch of BirdLife Australia

Drone flights conducted on 6 selected properties by volunteer & GB2AS landholder Ian Paterson

Weeding begun on 10 properties so far

Indigenous plants ordered for next year. Local schools and cub/scout groups are invited to book in for tree planting days

Jacqui Salter, Landcare Facilitator, MPLN

Friends of Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands Inc
Water in Downs

Give nature a chance and it will always seize the opportunity!

Adjacent to the north eastern boundary of the Seaford Wetlands is a pocket of ex-farm land known as the Downs Estate. Over the years it was eyed off by various developers but luckily it was eventually acquired by Frankston Council and completes the wetland ‘block’.

In late October-early November of this year, it was great to see that Melbourne Water started pumping water into the north-eastern corner of the Downs property where it is pooling and starting to follow the old water course across the property.

What was particularly good was the fact that within days, frogs started calling including the Pobblebonk which had not been heard anywhere else around Seaford Wetlands this spring; and within a few weeks, waterbirds were sighted there including 12 Straw-necked Ibis, six White-faced Herons with young, Teal, and Pacific Black Ducks with young.

What a great result!

Robin Clarey, Friends of Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands Inc

Upcoming Events

World Wetlands Day
Date: Friday 2 February, 2018
More details:

Detox Your Home
Date: Saturday 3 February, 2018
More details:

Solar Panels and Batteries – is now the time?
Date: Tuesday 20 February, 2018

Clean Up Australia Day
Date: Sunday 4 March, 2018
More details: