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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

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Sharing the Love for Marine Protected Areas

12 Aug 2016

All things fishy are being celebrated in Warrnambool this weekend, with marine volunteers across the state gathering at Deakin University for the third Sharing the Love forum. Friends of Merri Marine Sanctuary and Parks Victoria are hosting the event, which celebrates and supports community involvement in Victoria’s marine national parks…

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Wattle Day

28 Aug 2016 10:00am-2:00pm

The Friends of Braeside Park invite the community to visit and experience Wattle Day at the Community Garden and Nursery Facility. Follow the signs after entering the Park from Lower Dandenong Road, Braeside. Take the opportunity to attend and learn about local native plants, protecting and enhancing our environment and…

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10 Annual Kooyoora Wildflower Show

17 Sep 2016 9:00am - 18 Sep 2016 4:00pm

The 10 Annual Kooyoora Wildflower Show is on September 17 and 18 at the Inglewood Eucalyptus Museum. Gates open at 9am each day and close at 4pm. $5 entry for adults with children U18 free. The event includes static wildflower displays, twice daily guided bus tours to Kooyoora State Park,…

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Science In The Park - Dinosaurs Great & Small

19 Sep 2016 9:00am-10:30am

PrimeSCI! activity for years 3-6. Become a palaeontologist for the day! What can fossils show us about the diet of dinosaurs? Why did they have claws? Lesson includes a tour of the Victorian Polar Dinosaur display in the Coolart Homestead.

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Science In the Park - Brilliant Birds

19 Sep 2016 9:00am-10:30am

Brilliant Birds - PrimeSCI! activity for Prep - Year 2 students. Work in the field and identify our unique native birds. Record their numbers and find out if they are common or rare. Most importantly, understand their needs to survive and how they can be protected.