Gippsland Coastal Plains


The Gunaikurnai are the Traditional Owners of the Gippsland Coastal Plains local area. The Gunaikurnai has a deep, longstanding connection with the area and have an ongoing role in caring for Country.

The Gippsland Coastal Plains local area extends from Gormandale in the eastern part of the Strzelecki ranges and incorporates the plains stretching to Ninety Mile Beach.

Merriman Creek and its tributary Monkey Creek flow to the coast providing an important water source for agriculture and the township of Seaspray1. The local area receives less rainfall than other parts of southern Gippsland due in part to the rain shadow effect on the Strzelecki Ranges, making it more susceptible to drought.

Landcare volunteers and groups in the local area are supported by the Yarram Yarram Landcare Network.

Groundwater resources include the Yarram Water Supply Protection Area (WSPA). The WSPA extends across a large part of the onshore extent of the Latrobe Group Aquifer. It interacts with rivers where it is unconfined (on the southern edges of the Strzelecki Ranges, north of Yarram). This aquifer also contains the oil and gas reserves mined offshore in Bass Strait. The Latrobe Group Aquifer contains extremely large volumes of high quality (fresh) groundwater2.

The soils in the local area are part of the coastal plain land system that support agricultural production, forestry and important vegetation communities. The coastal plains are characterised by dune field landscapes consisting of dunes, swales and swamps all dominated by wind-blown sands which experience extremes in drainage. Agricultural land is susceptible to wind erosion, however soil remains intact when covered by native vegetation3;4. Planning is currently underway for large scale renewable energy generation and associated infrastructure in this local area.

Native vegetation within the local area is of high biodiversity and natural value, though it is poorly connected to larger remnants located within State Parks and conservation reserves (such as the Mullungdung State Forest). This landscape also provides important habitat for the genetically diverse South Gippsland koala population and quality patches of native grassland remain between the Mullungdung forest to the coast5.

The extensive sandy beaches and marine waters of Ninety Mile Beach are a popular destination for local fishers and tourists. The coastal reserves are valued for their natural scenic values and the recreational opportunities they provide. The coast and marine environment includes a range of complex habitats, vegetation communities and the numerous threatened species they support. Jack Smith Lake and its associated wetlands are listed in the Directory of Important Wetlands of Australia (DIWA) and are valued for the diversity of bird species they support.

Collaborative action for Biodiversity

The local area incorporates the Mullungdung-Darriman Biodiversity Planning landscape of interest for Biodiversity Response Planning.

Mullungdung-Darriman is a focus area due to the high biodiversity values and the potential to effectively address threats to flora and fauna. Biodiversity features include important vegetation communities (Plains Grassland (South Gippsland) Community (Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (Victorian)), and Subtropical and Temperate Coastal Saltmarsh (Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Federal)) and associated threatened flora and fauna (e.g. Powerful Owl, Masked Owl, Wellington Mint-Bush, Dwarf Kerrawang, Trailing Hop-Bush and Purple Diuris5).