WSA Board members joined with members of the Western Port Water Stewardship Reference Group last week on a bus tour of the project area on the Mornington Peninsula near Melbourne. The group was able to see first hand the issues that the project is seeking to address such as the impact on waterways flowing into the Westernport Ramsar wetlands of sediments and nutrients from agricultural operations and urban and industrial development as well as the proliferation of farm dams on smaller ‘lifestyle’ properties.
The project is seeking to engage industry and other landowners in developing water stewardship plans to ensure best practice and address water issues along the peninsula in the area covered by the Western Port Biosphere. Although the weather was challenging the group saw the excellent work being done by tree-growing nursery TGA near the AWS certified Inghams Enterprises poultry plant and hear the commitment to good water stewardship by new participants in the program Lord Somers Camp and Powerhouse. So far 15 small business and landowners have joined the program and made a commitment to prepare and implement a site water stewardship plan that will address shared catchment challenges. The project is receiving international attention because of the interesting approach it is taking to non-point source pollution – a pervasive problem in many parts of the world.