January to May 2016 Update 4

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Caring For Our Bays

Growling Grass Frog. This image was taken for an upcoming campaign to help reduce litter entering our waterways and bays. 
Community Update
Cowies Creek litter count and clean upHello and welcome to our forth community update on the Caring For Our Bays program.

Jarrod Boord has officially started as Caring For Our Bays Coastal Coordinator and will work with Matt Crawley on the program. Jarrod is replacing Rebecca-Petit as she is now on maternity leave. Jarrod works Mondays and Tuesdays.
Jarrod's contact details are: 
Ph: 0411 161 705
Jarrod is based at The Bellarine Environment Centre, 865 Swan Bay Rd, Mannerim.

In this issue:
- Introduction to new Caring for our Bays Coordinator
- Introduction to new Waterwatch role
- Did you know? Crabs.
- Summer by the Sea/Coastcare program
- Baykeeper Mollusc Survey
- Seagrass Monitoring - Get involved!
- Clean up under St Leonards Pier

The Caring for Our Bays program aims to lift the profile and appreciation of Corio Bay and the Bellarine shoreline of Port Phillip Bay, raise awareness of litter and its impact and reduce the amount of litter, sediments and nutrients that enter the waterways.

Over the next two years, Caring for our Bays will be rolling out litter measurement and research activities across hotspots, with Cuthbertson's Creek (flowing through Geelong) as a prime case study to track over the period. Baselines are in place after a team of Conservation Volunteers Australia carried out detailed litter audits and water quality testing.

 For more information, contact Jarrod Boord, Caring for our Bays Coastal Coordinator on 0411 161 705 or email .

Since I was a young boy I always had a fascination with the ocean. Although I grew up inland in dry North Eastern Victoria, we visited the beach every summer and most of that time was spent snorkeling or swimming in Port Phillip.  Six years ago my wife and I moved to Ocean Grove to live by the coast and we have loved every moment of it.  My focus in this time has been diving and learning everything I can about Southern Australian waters.  When I started diving down here I couldn't believe the diversity and colors that existed in such an underrated and misunderstood marine environment.  Since that time I have been focused on marine education and showing others through my film-making and photography why Port Phillip is so special and needs protecting. 
I am very pleased to be part of the this very important program. In 2007 I spent a month in a Sea Turtle  research camp on a remote beach in Uruguay.  The amount of turtles we found dead with their stomachs full of soft plastics was saddening and gave me an incredible first hand insight into how plastics damage the marine environment.  I am looking forward to helping reduce the amount of litter entering our waterways. I am a strong believer that positive messages and education about our bay is one of the best ways forward to reducing litter.  I am introducing a new section to these newsletters called 'Did you know?'.  These topics will hopefully add some facts and knowledge to your toolkit about some our local flora and fauna.
I'm looking forward to meeting you all and working with you on this important program.
Jarrod Boord
My name is Jess O’Brien and I am a Waterwatch facilitator at the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority, one of the partners on the Caring for Our Bays project. I moved to the Geelong area earlier this year from the Kimberley region in Northwest Western Australia. In recent years, I have been working with the Kimberley Land Council as a fire and invasive species officer, working with Traditional Owners and Indigenous rangers to achieve healthy country outcomes on their native title lands. In the Kimberley I was living near another very large and ecologically important bay – Roebuck Bay – and it is interesting as I learn more about Corio, Swan and Port Phillip Bays to see similiarities and difference between these bays.
While I have always loved the beach and the ocean, my academic and professional background has been largely terrestrial – focusing on forests and fire ecology. I am really excited to be getting my feet wet through the Caring for Our Bays project, learning more about the amazing creatures that inhabit our bays and finding ways that we can all do more to reduce litter, nutrient and sediment inputs into the bays and to protect these important ecosystems!
My passion is working together with people to learn more about and care for their local ecosystems. I believe that community involvement and education are key components of good environmental stewardship. As part of CFOB, I will be working with community Waterwatch volunteers to monitor the water quality of the freshwater streams that feed into Corio and Port Phillip Bays. Already we have monitors testing the water quality in Cowies and Cuthbertsons Creek so that we better understand the amounts of litter, nutrients and sediments that are entering the bay. Through the Waterwatch education program I will also be helping school students to better understand the importance of our bays and to learn more about the impacts of stormwater runoff and litter. Education and engagement with their local environment is the key to fostering stewardship of people of their important and beautiful local ecosystems.

Did you know? CRABS...

The annual aggregation of spider crabs is starting to happen. There has been a large aggregations already spotted off St. Leonards pier and near Blairgowrie, so with any luck, this year we will find them over this side of the bay. Often they are found over near Blairgowrie/Rye area. This event is a must see for anyone who snorkels or dives. It generally occurs in shallow waters within port phillip bay (they have been seen in some of the deepest sections as well).  Thousands of crabs all come together to moult, the exact reason is still unknown.  Safety in numbers is one theory, however the number of crabs all moulting together attracts large predators such as the huge smooth rays.  When the crabs moult their outer shell, their new shell is soft and theyr remain unprotected until their shell hardens. There is a facebook site setup dedicated to finding the spider crabs each year.

Crabby facts...

- Crabs can grow up to 3.65m from claw to claw (Japanese spider crab)
- It's very easy to tell the difference between most shore crabs.  Females have a wide abdomen dome and males have a long pointy abdomen shaped like a lighthouse.  The female has a wide dome to carry her eggs! Check the photo above, we found this lady on a Coastcare beach comb in December.
- The average life span of a crab is between 3-4 years.
- Crabs are also known as decapods because they have 10 legs. First pair of legs is modified into claws, called chelae.
- Like most of our marine animals, crabs are not immune to litter and waste.  Spider crabs in particular have been observed caught in discarded fishing line. 

Sustainable Cities Awards. 
Caring for our bays tour.

Drysdale/Clifton Springs Community Association Mike Windsor and Rick Paradise with Keeping Victoria Beautiful judge Tony Wissenden
On Wednesday 20th April the ‘Caring For Our Bays Program’ host Tony Wissenden for the Keep Victoria Beautiful Tour.  Three key Litter Hotspot Sites were St Leonards Pier, Clifton Springs CarPark and Cowies Creek.  Tony was hosted by representatives from Bellarine Bayside Foreshore Committee of Management, Friends of Point Richards, Dyrsdale Clifton Springs Community Association, Clifton Springs Curlewis Coastcare Group, Correction Victoria, City of Greater Geelong, Corangamite CMA and Bellarine Catchment Network. 

The tour hosts provide Tony with examples of fishing waste and litter, food and beverage litter, cigarette butt litter amongst others.  The Caring For Our Bays Tour hosts discussed the initiatives undertaken including; “Be a Hero’ Litter Reduction campaign usin
g iconic species such as Weedy Sea Dragon and Burranun Dolphin, Litter Audits study and behavioral change around littering. 

Steve from BCN and Leia from Bellarine Bayside discussing community engagement with Tony.

Ocean Grove Nippers involved the Coast Action game.  Participants learn about the local environment and the impact plastic bottles have on the environment whilst having fun. This game was part of many activities conducted over the summer period by The Caring for our bays program and BCN.

St Aloysius Primary School Environment Day

On Thursday 21st of August St Aloysius Primary School students attended the first ‘Caring for Swan Bay’ Environment Day.  90 students from years Prep to 6 attended the day and participated in 5 activities.
Each activity reflected the values of Swan Bay, threats and what students and the local community can do to help to protect and enhance them.  The day was supported by the Borough of Queenscliffe, Corangamite CMA, Marine and Freshwater Discovery Centre and Bellarine Catchment Network.
Activities included Coastcare Challenge Game focusing on litter and nutrients entering the Bay and how to prevent this, revegetation of Coastal Moonah Woodland, Waterwatch and waterbugs, Amazing Amphipods and Coastal Biodiversity.
Students were entertained and engaged by the variety of topics and presenters which helped to interpret the values of Swan Bay


Seagrass Monitoring Training

Mark Rodrigue from Parks Victoria demonstrating how to use a quadrant for monitoring seagrass.

On Saturday the 30th of April, Caring for our Bays attended a training session with Parks Victoria on seagrass monitoring at Queenscliff boat ramp. The day involved learning how to use quadrants to monitor seagrass health and ecology.  Mark Rodrigue from Parks Victoria noted the decline in healthy seagrass beds in Swan Bay over the recent years.  There are various issues that affect seagrass health including but not limited to, excess nutrients, epiphytic growth, physical damage such as boat propellers and humans walking on seagrass, algal blooms and habitat removal and reduction.  Mark also stated that there is currently seagrass monitoring at Mud Islands out in the middle of Southern Port Phillip bay, which is difficult to access but no current seagrass monitoring at Swan Bay, which is easily accessed. 
The variety of knowledge of seagrass from all participants was noted as being exceptional, the group included a PHD Student studying seagrass (which is not actually a grass at all, it’s closest relative is a lilly), new park ranger to the area Danielle Rizzo and various other community members interested in monitoring our marine environment.

A healthy seagrass bed in Swan Bay - Image Jarrod Boord

 Seagrass is an incredibly important marine plant, it provides habitat for juvenile fish, invertebrates and various other marine animals.  It is also an important food source for the Black Swan, for which Swan Bay is named after.
The group of 10 people practiced using the quadrants and recording the data. Hopefully this will help us better understand this incredible and precious marine environment that is right on our front doorstep. If you would like to help with this monitoring and meet some new friends, please contact

Mollusc Survey Training at Clifton Springs.

Neil Blake from Port Phillip Bay Eco Centre provided training for 13 participants at Clifton Springs. The training included a unique method of surveying Molluscs. What is a Mollusc? A Mollusc is an invertebrate that is part of a large phylum that includes snails, mussels, slugs and many other animals found in the intertidal zone.  Molluscs are indicator species and can help determine the health of the local area. Neil will be conducting further survey training in the future and all are welcome. Please email if you would like to be notified of future training opportunities.

Upcoming Events
Join the clean up of our Marine Environment at St Leonards Pier!

The Caring for our Bays project has partnered with the Dive Victoria Group to clean up under St. Leonards pier on June 18th.  A significant amount of rubbish accumulates under the pier each year, fishing line, camp chairs and plastics are dropped off the side of the pier.  This clean up will be held in the coming months. If you would like to participate in this clean up, contact

Where to recycle old lights and cardboard

Energy saving lights and other compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and tubes contain a small amount of mercury. Therefore to dispose of them safely - they need to be recycled. Your old lights and cardboard packaging can be dropped off for free at the resource recovery centres. You can use the online waste guide to find your disposal options for a wide range of items.

Resource Centres locations are:
Geelong Resource Recovery Centre
Address: 100 Douro Street in North Geelong
Hours: 7:30am - 4:15pm Monday – Sunday
Phone: 03 5272 2613

Drysdale Resource Recovery Centre
Address: Becks Road (off Murradoc Road Drysdale)
Hours: 8:00am - 4:15pm Monday - Sunday
Phone: 03 5251 2935



Will you Take 3 for the Sea?

 Take 3 is a not-for-profit organisation formed in Australia in 2009 that aims to raise awareness of plastic pollution (marine debris) by encouraging each visitor to the beach, waterway or...anywhere to simply take 3 pieces of rubbish with them when they leave and dispose of it thoughtfully. Take 3 also encourage everyone to reduce unnecessary plastic consumption - and make our lives a little less plastic! 

Take 3 now have a growing network of supporters and Chapters around the world. Take 3's mission is to significantly reduce global plastic pollution through education and participation. They encourage people everywhere to educate and inspire others; participate in clean up activities and to share their story. Together, we can reduce global plastic pollution. For more details go to

People will take responsibility for their actions and pride in their community surroundings resulting in a healthy marine ecosystem and a brighter future for our bays.
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