|Central coordinates||144o 26.68' East 38o 13.22' South|
|IBA criteria||A1, A4i|
|Year of IBA assessment||2008|
Summary The wetlands support significant numbers of the critically endangered Orange-bellied Parrot, the endangered Australasian Bittern and more than 1% of the world population of Chestnut Teal, Red-necked Stint, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper and Banded Stilt.
Site description The Bellarine Wetlands IBA consists of a number of neighbouring wetland sites on the Bellarine Peninsula near Geelong in coastal Victoria. These are the Moolap salt fields, adjacent intertidal mudflats in Corio Bay and Point Henry, and the extensive wetlands of Reedy Lake, Hospital Swamp and Lake Connewarre. Reedy Lake is the largest freshwater swamp in central Victoria (at approximately 550 ha) and is contiguous with Hospital Swamp, Lake Connewarre, Salt Swamp (Big Marsh) and the Barwon River estuary. Nearby areas of regional significance for birds which don't make the IBA criteria include coastal beaches at Black Rocks (up to eight Hooded Plovers), the Breamlea estuary (a small separate population of shorebirds) and Belmont Common (up to 400 Latham's Snipe 1979-1982, then regularly over 100 until 1996, when 1000 estimated to use the site over the season, since when it has been too dry with max 88 in 2002 and 25 in 2005). Some birds move freely between these sites; other birds occur at just one site. Moolap is a commercial salt works and much of Point Henry is occupied by an aluminum smelter; the other wetlands are State Game Reserves. Reedy Lake is managed to maintain wetland health, with occasional drying out to kill off Eurasian Carp. Reedy is freshwater whereas Connewarre, Hospital Swamp and Moolap are salty. The Reedy Lake-Lake Connewarre system is within the Port Phillip Bay and Bellarine Peninsula Ramsar site.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Chestnut Teal Anas castanea||non-breeding||1981-2007||1,200 individuals||good||A4i||Least Concern|
|Australasian Bittern Botaurus poiciloptilus||resident||1981-2008||12 individuals||medium||A1||Endangered|
|Banded Stilt Cladorhynchus leucocephalus||non-breeding||1981-2007||5,000 individuals||good||A4i||Least Concern|
|Red-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis||non-breeding||1981-2007||2,205-12,310 individuals||good||A4i||Least Concern|
|Sharp-tailed Sandpiper Calidris acuminata||non-breeding||1981-2007||541-5,591 individuals||good||A4i||Least Concern|
|Orange-bellied Parrot Neophema chrysogaster||non-breeding||1981-2007||12 individuals||good||A1||Critically Endangered|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Lake Connewarre||Natural Features Reserve - Wildlife Reserve (hunting)||3,707||protected area contained by site||3,707|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Coastline||Estuarine waters; Intertidal mud, sand & salt flats; Salt marshes; Sand cays, islets & bars||minor|
|Wetlands (inland)||Permanent herbaceous swamps & bogs; Saline lakes; Salt marshes||major|
Land ownership Moolap Saltworks is a private, commercial salt production facility owned by Cheetham Salt Pty Ltd. The adjacent intertidal areas in Corio Bay are Crown Land. Lake Connewarre and Reedy Lake are State Game Reserves managed by Parks Victoria.
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||major|
|Notes: Lake Connewarre, Reedy Lake and the land between Lake Connewarre and Salt Lake are Wildlife Reserves|
|Notes: Lake Connewarre and Reedy Lake are a State Game Reserve|
|Notes: Grazing abuts and overlaps with some wetlands on the lower Barwon River|
|Notes: Moolap Saltworks|
Other biodiversity Lake Connewarre contains the most extensive example of Wilsonia herblands and Distichlis grassland in the State of Victoria. Grey Glasswort and Tangled Lignum reach their southern limit within the Lake Connewarre Reseve and the White Mangrove (Avecinnia marina ssp.australasica) reaches its westernmost limit in Victoria in the Barwon River estuary.
Access/Land-Owner requests Moolap Saltworks is private land and access requires permission of the landowner, Cheetham Salt in Geelong. Much of Hospital Swamp is on private land and access requires permission of the landowner.
Acknowledgements The nomination was prepared by Kevin Wood.
Related state of the world's birds case studies
References Australasian Wader Studies Group biannual shorebird counts (1981-2007).
Dedman, V., McCarthy, G., Pescott, T. and Hewish, M. (1998). The Birds of Belmont Common and Jerringot Wildlife Reserve. In the Geelong Bird Report 1997: 51-66.
Department of Sustainability and Environment (2003). Port Phillip Bay (Western Shoreline) & Bellarine Peninsula Ramsar Site. Strategic Management Plan, Victoria.
Geelong Field Naturalists Club (1997-2007). Geelong Bird Reports 1996-2006.
Hewish, M., Pescott, T., Cameron, M., Mackenzie, R. and Russell, P. (1999) The Birds of Point Henry and Moolap saltworks. In the Geelong Bird Report 1998: 57-84.
Mackenzie, R. Pescott, T. and Hewish, M. (2006). The Birds of Reedy Lake, Geelong. In the Geelong Bird Report.
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Bellarine Wetlands. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 14/03/2014
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