Rivers of Gold & Western District Lakes Project

The Yarowee-Leigh and Woady Yaloak Rivers are historic gold mining areas, rich in cultural and environmental value and connected through the Ballarat West Growth Area, while the internationally listed Western District Lakes Ramsar site provides vital habitat for a rich diversity of wildlife, including native and migratory birds and rare plant communities.

The Rivers of Gold and Western District Lakes Project will see the Corangamite CMA engage with a range of partners to manage the ecological character of the Western District Lakes Ramsar site according to the site management plan and improve waterway and catchment health through on-ground works, cultural heritage and citizen science.

The project area includes the Yarrowee-Leigh River (upstream of Leigh Gorge), Lake Wendouree, the Woady Yaloak River and the Western District Lakes Ramsar Site.

This project is funded by the Victorian Government under the fifth tranche of the Environmental Contribution.

Current Projects  

The Western District Lakes were listed under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance in 1982. The Ramsar site covers approximately 33,000 hectares and comprises of nine separate lakes within the landlocked Lake Corangamite catchment: Lake Beeac, Lake Bookar, Lake Colongulac, Lake Corangamite, Lake Cundare, Lake Gnarpurt, Lake Milangil, Lake Murdeduke and Lake Terangpom.

This area supports large numbers of migratory shore birds and is an important breeding site for the Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspillatus), the Banded stilt (Cladorhynchus leucocephalus) and Red-necked avocet (Recurvirostra novaehollandiae).

Learn more about Ramsar sites here.

The Western District Lakes Ramsar Program will deliver the management strategies and monitoring requirements set out in the Ramsar Site Management and Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting and Improvement Plan. This includes development and implementation of an Annual Action Plan in consultation with the Ramsar Site Coordinating Committee, monitoring and on ground works to maintain the site’s ecological character.

Field officers, in collaboration with Heytesbury District Landcare Network and Central Otways Landcare Network, will monitor past on-ground works sites with the priority being past willow project sites, to ensure management agreements are being maintained.rnrnNew landholder incentives will become available, and education and incentives will be targeted to land managers and community groups to undertake on-ground riparian restoration works, supported by one-on-one landholder engagement for project negotiation, ongoing management advice and education on riparian management.rnrnEducation and access to Country for Traditional Owners will be negotiated with landholders at 2 sites, further details to come.

Citizen Science aims to maintain and improve the connections between people and their local waterways. This is undertaken through diverse hands-on activities, such as monitoring water quality, photopoint monitoring at key sites, or e-DNA sampling.

Citizen science activities for the Rivers of Gold & Western District Lakes project will include working with Landcare, Council and volunteers to maintain 12 long term monitoring sites. We will organise tailored events and provide information to community to improve awareness of the lakes and rivers, in partnership with Landcare, Central Highlands Water and City of Ballarat, as well as collaborate with Wadawurrung Traditional Owners to develop a tailored engagement program, including waterbug surveys at Traditional Owner-led events.

Find out more about Citizen Science here.

You can find the Victorian WaterWatch portal here: Waterwatch Portal

Western District Lakes Ramsar sight

Contact Us

Colac Office

64 Dennis Street, Colac VIC 3250
PO Box 159, Colac, VIC 3250
Hours: 8:30am – 5pm, Monday to Friday

T: 1800 002 262

Geelong office

Hours: 8:30am – 5pm, Monday to Friday
All mail must be sent via our Colac office
PO Box 159, Colac, VIC 3250

T: 1800 002 262