Port Phillip Bay gets clean bill of health
An independent report has given Port Phillip Bay a clean bill of health, consistent with its condition over the past decade.
The Office of the Environmental Monitor (OEM) has released its fourth annual review of the health of Port Phillip Bay assessing data collected during the past four years.
The OEM’s report analysed more than 600 monitoring reports and determined that the bay was in good health and that its health was consistent with its condition a decade ago.
Port Phillip Bay is 2000 square kilometres and holds 25 cubic kilometres of water. Up to 21,000 mega litres of water flowed into Port Phillip Bay in the days after the storms over the Christmas period last year. The report found that the impact of such events does not persist in the Bay in the long ter.
The report also found that:
- Long term evidence is showing that water quality has remained high
- Nutrients are being washed into the bay by rainfall events causing an increase in algal growth compared to drought years, but this has not harmed its health
- The bay’s seagrass meadows have expanded over the past year
- Recreational catches of Snapper and King George Whiting remained good, but the number of anchovies was variable
- Little Penguins that use the bay as a feeding ground remained healthy
Conditions over the past months have favoured the growth of algae, including warmer temperatures and increased nutrient levels in water bodies from flooding and heavy rains.
The Victorian Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Ryan Smith, said he had tasked the Department of Sustainability and Environment and the Environment Protection Agency to take a series of practical steps that will address a range of issues that are contributing to the poor health of the Yarra River and its input into the Bay.
The OEM compiled its annual report using information from Victorian Government agencies, including: The Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE); The Department of Primary Industries; The Environment Protection Agency.
The report can be found at the link; http://www.oem.vic.gov.au/Assets/1074/1/AnnualReviewNo4_FINAL.pdf