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The coast

Pied Oyster Catcher (photo: Fiona Smith)

Pied Oyster Catcher (photo: Fiona Smith)

2 years ago from Parks Victoria

Location: The coast

Coast Tea-tree (photo: Matt Hoskins)

Coast Tea-tree (photo: Matt Hoskins)

2 years ago from Parks Victoria

Location: The coast

Moonah tree (Photo: Peter McConchie)

Moonah tree (Photo: Peter McConchie)

2 years ago from Parks Victoria

Location: The coast

Ninety Mile Beach

Ninety Mile Beach

2 years ago from 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

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Brimbank Park connecting with local community

14 Jul 2014

A job that would have taken Parks Victoria Rangers Kirraly and Dannica hours to complete was done in less than half an hour thanks to some new volunteer hands at Brimbank Park. It was hard rubbish collection week, and someone had decided to use a heap of materials left in…

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National Tree Day plantings

27 Jul 2014 9:30am-1:30pm

Friends of Dandenong Valley Parklands invite you to join them in planting shrubs under the trees in Shepherds Bush next to Nortons Park. BBQ lunch provided. Families welcome.

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The First Shot Commemoration

5 Aug 2014 11:00am-5:00pm

Tuesday 5 August 2014 marks the 100 year anniversary of the first shot fired in the British Empire in World War I. This shot was fired from Coastal Artillery Gun Emplacement 6 at Fort Nepean on 5 August 1914 at 12:45pm, just 3 hours 45 minutes after war was declared…

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The Melbourne Mega Bat Count

6 Aug 2014

The Grey-headed Flying-fox is the largest flying-fox (also known as a fruit bat) species in Australia. Each month the Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology conduct the monthly bat count at Yarra Bend Park at dusk on the Wednesday evening closest to the risen full moon. This data is critical…

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Heart Foundation Walking - Park Walk

6 Aug 2014 10:00am-11:00am

Enjoy the fresh air of this beautiful park and get an insight into the park’s fascinating history, flora and fauna. This free guided walk run by Friends of Tarra Bulga National Park will lead you across the famous Corrigan Suspension Bridge which stretches through the rainforest canopy, and on either…