In August 2007 the Melbourne Magistrate’s Court accepted a guilty plea from Melbourne Water to a pollution charge bought by EPA Victoria arising from a Water Treatment plant chemical discharge to Cardinia Creek and Western Port. A fine of $90,000 was imposed, and directed to the Western Port Seagrass Partnership under the alternative sentencing provisions of the Environment Protection Act 1970, for a Coastal Erosion Project.
Sizing up the challenge!
This is the largest project undertaken yet by the WPSP and will spread across three years, with annual progress reports being provided to EPA Victoria. The target area for this project is the most challenging part of the eroding northern coast, covering the six kilometers between the Lang Lang River and Yallock Creek.
It is planned to plant three rows of mangroves at one metre intervals. This will require nearly 20,000 mangrove plants by 2010. Plants from donor sites often die unless they are very young, so their use will be minimized in future. Preference will be given to mangrove seedlings from school greenhouse projects and direct plantings of seeds. Plantings will be topped up where storm events or other factors result in losses over the 3 year period.
The preferred stock and planting methods will be varied according to success rates achieved. Greenhouse seedlings are excellent but have a 9 month delay before reaching optimum size.
In order to guarantee the supply of seedlings from schools, the WPSP will expand its school engagement program and seek additional sponsorship to facilitate this aspect of the project. In addition to schools, help has been sought from community volunteers and by contracting 10,000 plants through the Mornington Youth Enterprises Nursery.
Russell Ardley at Mornington Youth Services tending his 10,000 seedlings.
Volunteer John Caffa growing several hundred mangroves in his Corinella backyard.