Human impacts and development have destroyed up to 20% of Victoria’s coastal marshes, while the future looks even bleaker.
Mangroves and saltmarshes are important breeding ground for birds, fish and other marine and estuarine species, protect against erosion and provided filtration of runoff from the land. They are not specifically protected in legislation.
A four-year study has found that predicted sea level rises will push marshes inland, where their retreat will be blocked by seawalls, farmland and housing developments along much of the coast.
“These saltmarshes with nowhere to go will simply drown,” one of the researchers said.