To: We call on levels of government Local, State and Federal and their departments as well as Melbourne Water.
Save, Protect and Rezone Tootgarook Swamp on the Mornington Peninsula.
We ask these government bodies to come together and save, protect and rezone this precious wetland.
Why is this important?
The Tootgarook Swamp, also sometimes called Boneo swamp is a groundwater dependent wetland (fen) found on the Nepean Peninsula in Victoria. It is the largest example left of a Shallow freshwater marsh in the entire Port Phillip bay and Western Port Bay region, at ~650 hectares (According to the Tootgarook Wetland Ramsar Nomination Feasibility Study 2015 BMT WBM for the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council) it is worthy of international Ramsar protection.
Much of the Tootgarook swamp is inappropriately zoned as residential, and industrial with a large portion of it outside the green wedge.
This key area of biodiversity at the urban Growth Boundary is the area most under threat is inappropriately zoned to the north and has been identified in a report (Purnell, C and Herman, K., 2016. Tootgarook Swamp Bird Monitoring Program – Year 2 Annual Report. Unpublished report prepared for the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council by BirdLife Australia) as Core range and nationally significant, critical habitat for the Australasian Bittern (EN, EPBC) and a range other EPBC and FFG listed species. The largest accumulations of waterbirds was observed across this particular area of the Tootgarook Swamp.
The swamp contains fifteen state, federal, and international protected species of fauna, along with another seven-species listed as vulnerable. The majority of species threatened with extinction in Victoria are wetland dependent.
Tootgarook Swamp has so far recorded 159 bird species, 13 reptilian species, 9 amphibious frog species and 12 mammals, including 5 bats, no full survey of the entire swamp has ever been done to show its true value, and much of the current data has been collected during drought time.
Though recently the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council has made steps to undertake the larger bird and fauna surveys and has undertaken the Tootgarook Wetlands strategy thanks to your support something that we have been heavily involved in and we are continuing to gather data from bird surveys it is one facet that has been yielding results
The swamp is also home to at least nine bioregional endangered plant communities. (Update) Though a local ecologist believes up to 24 bioregional endangered plant communities exist within the swamp and updated on ground flora surveys need to be commenced.
There had been approximately 80 hectares is marked with (update) no present development proposals we have been successful at VCAT (most recent Nov 2016) with other stakeholders in showing the value of the Tootgarook Swamp. Instead of coming up continually against inappropriate development rezoning is needed.
Though within this area the biggest threat the most significant risk to this area, similar to Roe8 in Western Australia is a freeway reservation for the Southern Peninsula section of what is known as Peninsula Link it cuts though the most sensitive area of the entire wetland.
Did you know there are only 4% of total wetlands left in Victoria that are greater than 100 hectares , and of the original wetlands in the state we have already lost over 37% in the last 200 years.
Of the 100% of shallow fresh water marshes in Victoria, 60% has been destroyed.
It has high cultural significance for the Bunurong / Boonerwrung people of the Kulin nation, it’s name purportedly meaning land of the growling frog.
High scientific value also exists as pointed out by Sir Frederick Chapman in 1919, Australia’s first nationally appointed palaeontologist and world authority in the field of ostracods (a type of small crustacean), and close companion and co-worker with Sir Douglas Mawson. Sir Chapman personally visited and studied within Tootgarook Swamp where he catalogued numerous fossils and ostropod species not seen anywhere else but in Tasmania showing a link of a land bridge between the two states.
The Tootgarook swamp is described by Geologist A. Shugg as “The swamp is a natural groundwater discharge area lying close to sea level” and that “The swamp forms a window to the aquifer through which ground water discharges”.
Climate change wise the Tootgarook Swamp is a peat regenerating wetland, the most threatened form of wetland type internationally, as a peat regenerating wetland it is a major carbon storehouse (Blue Carbon), exceeding that of forests.
You might wonder, will the loss of a few wetlands like Tootgarook Swamp really make much difference?
Well, biodiversity is a complex fragile structure. It may be helpful to think of the ecosystem as a woven carpet, if you pull on a loose thread it might only affect the thread and those closest to it, or it might unravel the whole carpet. Wetlands are threads keeping the ecosystem carpet together and as we pull out more wetland threads the ecosystem begins to unravel causing lots of problems.
So help us keep this unique wetland for our biodiversity and future generations,
View our YouTube channel
or for even more information and photos check out our website
A short film was also made by Anthony Kelly for the Peninsular Short Film Festival. While it did not succeed in being selected for the festival, we think it is a beautiful depiction of the swamp and its wildlife.
Mornington Peninsula Shire has also had some short films made in relation to it Bird monitoring program with Birdlife Australia.
Birdlife Video 2015
Birdlife Video 2016
Or even join our Facebook Page
How it will be delivered
We will hold a small press conference outside the Mornington Peninsula Shire offices in Rosebud on the Mornington Peninsula, visit our local and federal parliamentarian members offices, and email the signatures off to all levels of government.