East Gippsland contains many waterways of important cultural and biological significance. The Gippsland Lakes include Lake Wellington, Lake Victoria, Lake King and a number of smaller lagoons and wetlands.
The lakes are fed from five main rivers in East Gippsland – the Mitchell, Nicholson, and Tambo flow into Lake King, while to the west the Latrobe and Avon rivers flow into Lake Wellington.
The Gippsland Lakes contain a number of internationally significant wetlands and support a diverse range of flora and fauna, including around 400 indigenous plant species and 300 native wildlife species. The lakes are listed under the RAMSAR convention for their unique natural landforms, vegetation and as home to thousands of water birds.
Further east, the region has many other highly significant rivers and estuaries, including Mallacoota Inlet, the Snowy, Thurra and Bemm rivers, estuaries and smaller streams and creeks.
Healthy waterways are highly valued by our community and visitors. They're vital contributors to our local economy, from industry, tourism, recreation and fishing. Over 1.2 million people visited East Gippsland in 2015, and our waterways are an important tourism draw card.
Our waterways are under increasing pressure from our growing population and unpredictable climate. The major issue affecting waterway health is the increased amount of mud (or sediment) entering our waterways, increasing volumes of untreated stormwater flowing into creeks, and litter is a serious pollution problem.
Learn ways to protect our waterways including our Urban Waterway Guidelines and local case studies.
Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) provides a range of benefits, such as a clean environment, lush vegetation, improved amenity for recreation and healthy habitat for native birds and wildlife. WSUD are stormwater strategies that reduce hydrology impacts by slowing, capturing, treating and using rainwater.
The aim is to reduce high volume nutrient and sediment loads reaching creeks and rivers. Even small things can make a difference; planting trees, treating storm water and bank stabilisation on farms. Importantly, we can encourage and enable community access so residents and visitors can appreciate and look after a waterway they love.
East Gippsland Shire Council has developed Urban Waterway Guidelines to provide guidance for developers to use to help protect East Gippsland's waterways.
The guidelines suggest ways to include WSUD in new developments and subdivisions. The issues associated with urban waterway erosion in the East Gippsland Shire area are particularly severe in terms of the Gippsland Lakes with their high ecological value. The guidelines refer to strategies to assist in areas such as vegetation, channel stability, water quality, hydrology and habitat.
In addition the Urban Waterway Management Strategy shows what Council is doing to plan for and manage healthy urban waterways.