The Gippsland Lakes system is one of the largest coastal lagoon systems in south eastern Australia with a catchment including close to 10% of the State of Victoria, and is listed under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance. The lakes support a wide range of important ecological, social and economic values and are influenced by a large and complex catchment. The impacts of climate change, river regulation, activities within the catchment and a permanent entrance opening all influence the health and resilience of the lakes and the values they support.
The scale and complexity of the Gippsland Lakes system; with multiple land and environmental managers with varying roles and objectives, means the task to manage and improve this natural system is significant. A consolidated approach between responsible agencies, managers and community has been developed to provide clear priorities for actions to implement.
Informed by the collaborative process of the development of the most recent Gippsland Lakes Ramsar Site Management Plan, and guided by the objectives of the Gippsland Lakes Coordinating Committee, over 37 partners from community and agencies are now contributing to on ground efforts to improve the health of the Gippsland Lakes landscape. Traditional Owners are actively involved in joint managed land, and hundreds of other land owners have voluntarily changed management practices.
Past and current case studies are used to demonstrate the benefits of a truly collaborative and coordinated approach to the implementation of environmental works, highlighting the successes and challenges of implementing this approach.