Australia has designated the Glenelg Estuary and Discovery Bay Ramsar Site in western Victoria as its 66th Wetland of International Importance.
The Site (Ramsar Site no. 2344) covers over 22,000 hectares, and consists of the Glenelg Estuary, the longest in the bioregion at 75 kilometres in length, a beach and dune system, and freshwater wetlands. It includes rare intact fen peatlands and a humid dune slack system.
The Site’s habitats support 95 waterbird species including the globally endangered Australasian bittern (Botaurus poiciloptilus), great knot (Calidris tenuirostris) and far eastern curlew (Numenius madagascariensis).
It provides food, spawning grounds and nurseries for a range of fish including 14 native species, such as the globally vulnerable eastern little galaxias (Galaxiella pusilla) and Yarra pygmy perch (Nannoperca obscura), and a path for species which migrate between the region’s salt and fresh waters. The permanent swamps and lakes provide refuge for obligate aquatic species during drought conditions. The wetlands of Long Swamp within the Site support more than 1% of the total global population, and possibly as much as 5%, of the global population of the globally endangered wetland-dependent ancient greenling (Hemiphlebia mirabilis).
The area is popular for recreational and tourism activities, including sightseeing, walking, camping and recreational fishing. The Site is also culturally significant for Gunditjmara indigenous people.