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Ramsar Protection Program – PPWCMA

The Port Phillip & Westernport Catchment Management Authority (or more snappily, the  PPWCMA!) is the peak natural resource management body in the Port Phillip and Western Port region in Victoria, Australia.  The catchment includes remote locations such as French Island which is situated in the middle of Western Port.

French Island is a key environmental asset to the region, and indeed the planet, as its remoteness and geographic location make it an ideal roosting spot for a number of endangered bird species including the White-Bellied Sea-Eagle, King Quail and Orange-Bellied Parrot.

The environmental significance of this wildlife means French Island is protected by the Ramsar Wetlands Convention.

With this in mind, PPWCMA sought my capacity building expertise to help grow membership of the French Island Landcare group.

The challenge: to reinvigorate the local Landcare group by building a calendar of events to address key environmental issues such as weed control, coastal fencing and pest animals.

The population of the island is small with about 100 permanent residents and 100 ‘weekenders’. Communication on the island relies on Islanders speaking amongst themselves, a local newsletter and a website maintained by the local co-op.

This project was an exercise in grassroots community engagement – pure and simple!