Western District Lakes

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Overview

Overall Area
Population
Climate
Main TownsCamperdown
Cressy
Beeac
Land Use
Main Industries
Main Natural FeaturesWestern District Ramsar site
Lakes and Wetlands
Stony Rises
Woady Yaloak River
Pirron Yallock Creek

The Western District Lakes area is situated on the central western side of the Corangamite region. The major towns are Camperdown in the southwest and Cressy at the north. It borders the Basalt plains to the north and east, and the Barwon Plains and Heytesbury to the south and southwest, respectively. The Landscape is characterised by large number of lakes and wetlands situated within the region. The major municipalities are Corangamite and Colac Otway Shires, with a small portion of the Surf Coast municipality.

This landscape system is generally bounded by the Hamilton Highway to the north and the Princes Highway in the south.  Its eastern boundary runs basically north from the Princes Highway near Birregurra to the Hamilton Highway between Cressy and Inverleigh (Wingeel).  It contains the towns of Camperdown and Cressy within parts of the Colac-Otway and Corangamite Shires.  The Traditional Owners are the Eastern Maar.

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Within this landscape, lakes and wetlands have formed in volcanic craters, depressions due to lava collapse, and where drainage patterns have been interrupted by lava flows. Drainage is mostly internal to lakes or to groundwater. Seasonal variation in hydrology, the type of basalt substrate, and the great variety of catchment-to-surface area ratios and through-flows, combine to produce lakes and wetlands with an unusually wide range of salinities.

The area contains numerous lakes including nine listed under the Ramsar convention the largest being Lake Corangamite. Lake Corangamite, the largest permanent saline lake in Australia and the largest natural lake in Victoria, which is a Ramsar listed wetland and a haven for migratory and non-migratory birds occurs in this area along with many other important Western District Ramsar site wetlands. The lakes are large, relatively shallow and dominated by open water. All of the lakes are saline except Lake Terangpom.

Undulating landscape of volcanic flows characterise the Stony Rises area, which represents the most recent volcanic activity in Australia. It is dotted with small wetlands, many of which form part of the seasonal herbaceous wetlands (freshwater) of the temperate lowland plains, which are listed as threatened under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, 1999.

The Landscape System has a number of creeks and streams that terminate at Lake Corangamite, which is the largest permanent inland lake in Australia. The Woady Yaloak River and Pirron Yallock Creek flow into Lake Corangamite. Lake Colac is also a dominant lake in this landscape which is fed from streams to the south including the Barongarook and Deans creeks.