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Caring for our Bays

The Caring for Our Bays program is an innovative program that 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. Bellarine Catchment Network assists management authorities to improve environmental outcomes, with a focus on this project to improve the health of our waterways and bays.

The bay region is facing a litter crisis, litter remains in the water and is not generally cleaned up due to the difficulty of collection.  This is a generational issue, the litter will remain for years, it is important to stop the litter entering the bay in the first place, healthy environments are resilient environments.

Caring for our BaysOur research and litter monitoring of the hot spots, demonstrate that there is a significant litter problem in these areas.  Soft plastics in particular have been found in significant numbers both on the shoreline and in the water.  These plastics are detrimental to marine life and unsightly.  We aim to educate and encourage the community to look after their local area and improve the health of both the bay and the foreshore.

Litter is an issue that is evident to all stakeholders and this project will facilitate an integrated and coordinated approach to the issue.

In October 2014 the Victorian Government announced funding allocations for round two of the Litter Hotspots Project, for local organisations to implement their projects. The program provides funding to support initiatives to improve water quality and reduce litter in the Yarra River and Port Phillip Bay. The Caring for our Bays Program (CFOB) successfully received multi-year funding from this initiative. The CFOB Program is the first coordinated project to cover the catchments running into Corio Bay (western part of Port Phillip Bay), and to integrate engagement, infrastructure and enforcement activities across community, business and government in the region. This program will reach out and involve groups that were previously working well but in isolation and without a central focus, on reducing litter and improving water quality in Corio Bay.