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The coast

Pied Oyster Catcher (photo: Fiona Smith)

Pied Oyster Catcher (photo: Fiona Smith)

Photo by: Parks Victoria

Location: The coast

Coast Tea-tree (photo: Matt Hoskins)

Coast Tea-tree (photo: Matt Hoskins)

Photo by: Parks Victoria

Location: The coast

Moonah tree (Photo: Peter McConchie)

Moonah tree (Photo: Peter McConchie)

Photo by: Parks Victoria

Location: The coast

Ninety Mile Beach

Ninety Mile Beach

Photo by: Parks Victoria

Location: The coast

Often lashed by the wind laden with salt spray, the coast is very dynamic and a difficult environment for living things, with some of its physical features such as dunes and cliffs subject to continual change. Exposure to the power of large waves generated in the Southern Ocean has produced the rugged, eroded landforms that characterise much of our western coastline. In more sheltered areas there are a wide range of other habitats.

Wind, salt, and unstable low nutrient soils made largely of sand that hold little water are the critical influences on the vegetation of the coast and plant communities growing in these areas have evolved a range of strategies to help them cope with this challenging environment.

Plant communities typically found along the coast are:

  • Coastal Dune Scrub –includes plants well suited to the most exposed section of the coast and include many pioneering dune binding plants such as Hairy Spinifex (Spinifex hirsutus)
  • Coastal Moonah Woodlands – often growing on calcareous dunes and cliffs on the coast dominated by the Coastal Moonah (Melaleuca lanceolata subsp. lanceolata)
  • Coastal Banksia Woodland – restricted to near coastal localities on secondary dunes behind Coastal Dune Scrub, these areas are dominated by a woodland over story of Banksia tees
  • Coastal Saltmarsh – in flatter areas of low energy coastlines some areas are dominated by succulent plants that can cope with high salinity soils and some inundation and exposure to salt water and poor drainage.

More about the coast

  • Hardy shrubs such as Coast Tea-tree, Coast Beard-heath, Seaberry Saltbush and Coast Wattle occur on secondary dunes or exposed rock headlands
  • Moonah, Boobialla, Drooping She-oak and Coast Banksia are found on the stabilised dunes and swales on the landward side
  • The most prominent group of large coast dwelling animals are birds such as Orange-bellied Parrot and Pied Oystercatcher which depend directly on saltmarsh plants or a wide range of invertebrates (animals without backbones) for food
  • The Little Penguin and Short-tailed Shearwaters (Muttonbirds) nest in burrows in the dunes.

Key Threats

  • Issues related to impacts from increasing visitor use, combined with edge effects from urban development are key threats to this ecosystem.
  • Rising sea levels and greater frequency of storm events due to climate change may impact on vegetation, estuaries as well as coastal assets.

Where to see the coast and intertidal shores

Ranger Samantha based in Creswick Click to view the news RSS feed.

Meet new Ranger Samantha in a park near you

01 Feb 2016

This summer, why not visit one of the fantastic regional parks throughout Hepburn, Ballarat, and Pyrenees Shires, and say hello to new Parks Victoria ranger Samantha? Sami is based in Creswick and is looking after parks in Ballarat, Creswick, Hepburn and Beaufort. “It’s fantastic to be able to use my…

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What's on at Albert Park

1 Jul 2015 12:00am - 30 Jun 2016 12:00am

A wide variety of events are held at Albert Park throughout the year. Events range from fun runs and sporting tournaments to other community events. See the full calendar here.

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Werribee Park Heritage Orchard Grafting Day

14 Feb 2016 10:00am-3:00pm

Workshops on companion planting, free grafting demonstrations will be happening all day - no booking required and the local CWA are coming on board to provide food and refreshments. Rotary members will be directing traffic via Gate 5 so you won't have so far to walk with your new trees.…

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A Midsummer Night's Dream on the Maribyrnong River

19 Feb 2016 - 28 Feb 2016

Sly Rat Theatre Co. in conjunction with The Living Museum of the West and Maribyrnong Council presents William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night's Dream. Sly Rat Theatre Co. is excited to announce that its first production for 2016 is Shakespeare’s most popular comedy, A Midsummer Night's Dream! In association with The…

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Nepean Conservation Group Annual General Meeting

20 Feb 2016 3:30pm-8:30pm

The Nepean Conservation Group will hold their annual general meeting at Badcoe Hall, followed by a BYO picnic dinner at the Parade Ground. Guest speaker will be Bradley Fauteux, Parks Victoria Chief Executive Officer. Interested community members and children are welcome to attend. Parking available at the Quarantine Station Car…