Save, Protect and Rezone Tootgarook Swamp on the Mornington Peninsula
Petition: We call on levels of government Local, State and Federal and their departments as well as Melbourne Water.
The Tootgarook Swamp is the largest example left of an Shallow freshwater marsh in the Port Philip bay region, at 381 hectares it is worthy of international Ramsar protection.
Much of the Tootgarook swamp is inappropriately zoned as residential, and industrial with only half of it inside the green wedge. Currently approximately 80 hectares is marked with present development proposals totalling almost a quarter of the entire swamp.
There are only 4% of total wetlands left in Victoria that are greater than 100 hectares. 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, as well as high scientific value 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.
Tootgarook Swamp has so far recorded 145 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.
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.
The swamp is also home to at least nine bioregional endangered plant communities. 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.
The Mornington Peninsula Shire is considering a proposal by Lifestyle Communities Ltd to build a 99-lot residential development for people aged over 55 on part of the wetlands.
The Mornington Peninsula Shire has released an information sheet (Tootgarook Wetland Information Sheet #TWMP15.pdf) about planning together, for the future of the Tootgarook Wetland in developing a Wetland Management Plan.
It assumed that with “management” the biodiversity and fragility of species and ecology can co-exist with housing growth!