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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

A Brolga in native saltmarsh Click to view the news RSS feed.

Local “Kakadu” site restored for native wildlife

15 Apr 2016

A saltmarsh area that is vital habitat for native wildlife including the critically endangered Orange-bellied Parrot in Victoria’s Port Phillip Bay is being restored thanks to a partnership between Melbourne Water and Parks Victoria. The five year restoration project is focusing on a saltmarsh area at Point Wilson near Lara…

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What's on

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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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Information session: Eastern Barred Bandicoot protection program

3 May 2016 6:00pm-8:00pm

You’re invited to attend an information session on work underway to protect the endangered Eastern Barred Bandicoot at Woodlands Historic Park. Talk to staff from Parks Victoria and experts from the Eastern Barred Bandicoot Recovery Team about the reintroduction of Bandicoots into a predator proof enclosure in the park’s ‘Back…

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Threatened birds of the Murray Mallee information session and field day

14 May 2016 9:30am - 15 May 2016 12:00am

BirdLife Australia is holding a weekend of events exploring threatened birds of the Murray Mallee and the importance of appropriate fire management in their conservation. On Saturday at an information session at DELWP Mildura, 308 Koorlong Rd, Irymple hear from researchers from La Trobe University, DELWP and BirdLife Australia, then…

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Friends of Glen Nayook working bee

22 May 2016 9:00am-11:00am

General maintenance. Morning tea provided.