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Bunurong Environment Centre
Corner. Ramsay Bvd. & The Esplanade, Inverloch 3996. Victoria.
Introduction to the area of study
Thanks to an unusual set of environmental and geological conditions the range of marine life in the Bunurong Coast is diverse and unique.
The area features extensive reefs and an unusually rich array of marine plants including seaweeds and seagrass.
Within this area lies the Bunurong Marine National Park, stretching about 5 km from Cape Paterson to Eagle's Nest Beach and 3 nautical miles out to sea.
Adjacent to the national park is the Bunurong Marine Park & Coastal Reserve, which stretches along the coast for about 17 km from Coal Point to Wreck Creek and 1 km out to sea from the high water mark.
This fragile environment is easily damaged by human activities such as urban development, pollution and intensive fishing. The Anderson's Inlet catchment area is also affected by farming practices and land clearance.
The coast from Cape Liptrap to Cape Paterson was first surveyed in 1841 by George Douglas Smythe and initially broken up for selection in the 1870s.
Coastal development from Cape Paterson to Venus Bay quickly followed the establishment of the mining town of Wonthaggi in 1910.
In the last 2 decades coastal towns such as Inverloch have grown dramatically as more tourists, holiday makers, retirees and families discover the Bass Coast region. This has put huge pressure on this environmentally sensitive area as well as increasing the demand on local services and infrastructure.
Possible environmental issues to consider
Clearing vegetation along the coast and in water catchment areas
Habitat reduction of indigenous and endangered species
Impact of introduced plant and animal species
Pollution of the waterways
Expansion of town boundaries
Effect of dramatic population increase during holiday periods
Storm water management
Rising sea levels
Impact of industrial developments such as the desalination plant and wind farms
The best way to cover a range of these issues would be to take a guided bus and walking tour in specific areas.
Depending on your focus and the year level involved, this could take more than a day.
Areas such as the mudflats and rock platforms near Inverloch are best visited a couple of hours either side of low tide.
Students should wear protection from the sun and sturdy walking shoes. Cameras would also be useful to keep a photographic record of the issues studied.
Shifting Sands: Inverloch, a fascinating place - Lis Williams, $20
Bunurong Coastal Reserve - E. Brewster, $5
These resources are all available from the Bunurong Environment Centre, Inverloch.
Teachers and students are reminded that activities involving the collection or removal of any material, including animals, plants, shells, rocks, sand or seaweed, are not permitted within the Bunurong Marine National Park.