Natural features of Western Port

Western Port and its catchment contain many wonderful natural features shaped by geological, hydrological and biological processes over many millions of years.

Human intervention, especially since European settlement, has also had significant impacts on the natural ecosystems and landscapes. Clearance of natural vegetation and draining of extensive regional wetlands to facilitate human habitation and agriculture has had major ramifications on these habitats especially for our internationally renowned migratory birds. This era has also seen damage to the coastal and marine ecosystems of Western Port including devastation of the extensive seagrass communities that underpin the bay’s food and energy chains.

To protect these wonderful natural features and retain vital ecosystem services for future generations, the community needs to better understand what natural assets we have and how to manage them wisely and sustainably. We hope the information provided about some of the natural features of Western Port will engender improved understanding and appreciation of what we have and facilitate improved management approaches.

We invite you to view the video above in which our founding Chairman Professor John Swan describes some of the special aspects of Western Port and its ecology.

Also provided in this section are some insights into the physical features and land uses of the region and examples of the amazing flora and fauna that make up the unique regional ecosystems.

The final section includes studies and monitoring activities covering the environmental health of the catchment, the bay and associated biodiversity.

We acknowledge that our efforts to describe these important features are far from complete and invite constructive comments and contributions that will help us improve the content over time.

Contribute a species

Flora Species List – PDF
Flora Identification Rescources document – PDF

Fauna Species List – PDF
Fauna Identification Rescources document – PDF

How to contribute a photo or video

The Western Port Seagrass Partnership wishes to create an electronic record of all native fauna and flora species found living in the region as a historic benchmark of the region's biodiversity. This is a community project, built on contributions by the community, owned and shared by the community of Western Port. The Western Port Seagrass Partnership is simply facilitating the project by creating the framework for the records, accepting the contributions and making them accessible.

How It Works

  1. You take a digital photo or video of any living organism in the marine, coastal or catchment area of Western Port, noting the date and location it was taken.
  2. You identify what you believe the species is and provide a web link to any reputable web site that provides information about that species and supports your determination. Refer to our species guides, hints and links to helpful sites.
  3. You fill in the online entry form below, attach your digital photo and send it to WPSP. When filling in the form, you will be asked to declare that the photo or video taken is your own and that you give your permission for the Western Port Seagrass Partnership to use it for our Fauna and Flora Collections which shall be freely accessed by the community.
  4. We load your entry onto the web site, along with appropriate recognition of your contribution.
  5. The Community views your contribution and those of other contributors and gains a greater appreciation of the biodiversity Western Port has to offer.

On Line Entry Form

Photographer's First Name:
Photographer's Last Name:
Confirmation Telephone Number:
Confirmation Contact Email:
Class or Family:
(e.g. Fern, Reptile, etc.)
Species Common Name:
(as best you can determine)
Species Scientific Name:
(as best you can determine)
  NB: For help refer to our ID Guides and Links above.
Location Taken:
(Closest town, suburb, or GPS)

List at least one reputable web site that contains a description of the species you have photographed and supports the identification you have made.

Information Link:
Other Information / Comment:
Photo or Short Video File:
  Maximum 2 Mb.


I confirm that I am the owner of the digital image/ video being provided and give my consent to the Western Port Seagrass Partnership Ltd to use this image and information provided on this form for the purposes of the Western Port Fauna and Flora Collection Project and to have this information made accessible to the general public via the WPSP Ltd website. I understand that providing material that is not my own and is in breach of copyright is an offence in the Commonwealth of Australia.

The Western Port Seagrass Partnership retains the right to use or reject any material provided to it based on quality or accuracy or doubts about its authenticity, suitability or legal status. The WPSP Ltd will only use contributed material for the stated purposes and will ensure contributors are appropriately acknowledged.

Note: Depending on your Internet connection and the size of your photo or video file, the form submission could take two minutes or more before confirming that it was sucessful. Please be sure not to click the "submit" button twice.

Receive a free DVD. Register here and receive a free copy of the Western Port DVD. Includes a documentary hosted by John Clarke and earlier footage from the 1970s and 80s. This DVD is the comprehensive Western Port package. Offer available to Australian residents only. International queries and multiple copies can be requested via email to

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Western Port Seagrass Partnership would like to thank ESSO Australia Pty Ltd for its sponsorship of Western Port Cherished and Challenged DVD.

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