3Our Campaigns 2Healthy Rivers & Nature 1About Healthy Rivers 0River stories Barwon River Basin

Barwon River

The Barwon River’s journey begins in the Otways National Park, flowing through farmland around the towns of Forrest and Birregurra and through the heart of the regional centre of Geelong, before it enters the Southern Ocean at the twin towns of Ocean Grove and Barwon Heads.

Barwon River

  • The Barwon estuary is recognised for its mangrove habitat, which is protected as a Ramsar wetland, and is home to many water birds. This area provides a sanctuary for a number of endangered migratory birds, such as the orange-bellied parrot and as well as native plants and animals.
  • The Barwon River suffers from salinity, high nutrient levels and poor flow and most streams are in marginal to poor condition.
  • The Barwon is still waiting for the delivery of promised environmental flows. Improved flows in the Moorabool have benefited the lower Barwon but the river needs more.
The Barwon needs our care:
  • Storm water litter with residential, industrial and agricultural runoff provide ongoing pollution challenges;
  • Exotic trees that line the river bank disrupt the habitats of native animals and fish; their dense thickets of suckers impede platypus burrowing in the banks and exacerbate erosion;
  • The autumn leaf drop of exotic trees contribute to high nutrient loads providing ideal conditions for outbreaks of blue green algae; in other seasons the water creatures are left to starve without a steady supply of food from the native vegetation shedding leaves and bark all year round.

People who love and depend on the Barwon River Basin have many memories and insights to share – of the indigenous connection, working the land and learning from it.


Take a minute and explore the Barwon River Basin through the eyes of these river champions…