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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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Have your say on the future of Westgate Park

30 Sep 2014

Parks Victoria is inviting expressions of interest from members of the community who are interested in becoming part of the Westgate Park Advisory Group and contributing to the development of a Westgate Park Master Plan that will guide management of the park for the next 20 years. Members of the…

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Westerfolds parkrun

1 Nov 2014 8:00am-9:00am

parkrun is free, weekly, 5km timed run that is open to everyone - walkers, runners, families and dogs are all welcome! Westerfolds parkrun occurs every Saturday morning. We're based near the main carpark off the Fitzsimons Lane entrance, and the course is run entirely on sealed paths within the park.

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Discover the Prom from 1-3 November 2014

1 Nov 2014 12:30pm - 3 Nov 2014 4:30pm

Get to know Wilsons Promontory National Park with a Ranger on a Discovery walk or activity on Melbourne Cup Long Weekend from 1-3 November 2014. A range of activities are available including Junior Ranger activities for 6-12 year olds, StoryTime activities for pre-school age children and guided walks, presentations and…

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Little Desert Discovery

3 Nov 2014 8:00am - 6 Nov 2014 5:00pm

Make a big difference at Little Desert! Learn about the endangered Mallefowl recovery program, support wildlife monitoring and encounter a range of native wildlife species held at the Little Desert Sanctuary including Suger Gliders, Bruh-tailed Bettongs and Bush-stone Curlews.

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Grampians Conservation Explorer

3 Nov 2014 8:30am - 6 Nov 2014 5:30pm

We will take you behind the scenes on this exclusive, small group adventure as you work alongside a Parks Victoria Ranger to 'track and protect' the elusive Brush-tailed Phascogales, which are on Victoria's threatened species list. You will sample some of the region's best wines, see ancient Aboriginal rock art…