Estuary name Bourne Creek
CMA West Gippsland CMA

Bourne Creek is a small intermittently closing and opening coastal estuarine lagoon (ICOLL) located to the east of the Kilcunda township. The majority of the creek that is considered estuarine is located within protected crownland reserves with good vegetation cover (i.e. the Kilcunda Creek Water Frontage and Kilcunda Coastal Reserves). The broader catchment that feeds the estuary with freshwater is approximately 10 square kilometres, extending as far north as the Kilcunda Ridge Road. This catchment is relatively steep, eroded and contains very little remnant or newly established vegetation.  

Estuary Values

- EVC pre European settlement: (83) Swampy Riparian Woodland (Endangered).

- EVCs that appear to inhabit the site currently: (9) Coastal Saltmarsh, (10) Estuarine Wetland (this is likely to resulted from changes in hydrology resulting from catchment clearing, intensive landuse leading to the loss of top soil and deepening of the creek channels (i.e. lowering of the landscape and creek channels to allow the intrusion of more saltwater into the creek). On top of this the recent need to carry out artificial estuary entrance openings would also have allowed more saltwater into the creek).

- Bird species sighted at Bourne Creek include; Hooded Plover, Sooty Oystercatcher, Eastern Great Egret, Pacific Gull, Greater Sand Plover, Common Diving Petrel

- Fish species at Bourne Creek; Common Galaxias, Spotted Galaxias, Short-finned Eel, Flatheaded Gudgeon, Black Bream.

Estuary Threats

Unpermitted estuary entrance openings, growing populations, changes in water regimes, high levels of sediment and nutrients, pollution events, habitat modification, land reclamation, Invasion by weeds and pest animals, salinisation and acidification, bank instability, livestock access and altered marine exchange.


Data Site observations
Status Active
Monitor group WGCMA Estuary Management Group



Site details Options

Bo1 Bourne Creek Eastern Bank Phys/Chem

Active Physico-Chemical 24-05-2016 - 23-07-2018

Grassy bank 20 metres upstream of the Kilcunda Rail Trail Trestle bridge. Eastern bank of the creek.

Observations 8

BoMC Bourne Creek Mouth Condition Monitoring Site

Active Mouth Condition 27-04-2017 - 13-08-2018

Mouth of Bourne Creek.

Observations 15

Recent Events

Event Details
21-08-2018 Estuary Entrance Opening

After 25mm of rain over a period of 3 days Bourne Creek opened naturally to the ocean.

Tide: low tide occurred at 12.41 pm (0.7m).

Swell: Rough (2.6-2.7m)




24-07-2018 Estuary Entrance Opening

An artificial estuary mouth opening took place to alleviate the inundation of the Bass Hwy.

18-06-2018 Estuary Entrance Opening

Mouth artificially opened to alleviate the inundation of the Bass Hwy

18-06-2018 16:30
21-02-2018 Fish

More than 10 Long-finned Eels were found dead throughout the estuary. The size class (20 - 40cm long) which is younger than the breeding and seaward migration age. One larger 60 - 80cm Eel was also found, which may have been of a breeding age.

These deaths are likely to be a result of the following:

- Estuary water draw down (over summer)

- dramatic increase in Salinity (well above seawater)

- Increased temperature and Turbidity

- Dissolved oxygen fluctuations resulting from Eutrophic conditions. 

21-02-2018 14:00
View all events

Estuary Snapshots

The EstuaryWatch snapshots provide a summary of estuary condition on a particular day. For all EstuaryWatch Snapshots, photopoint photos and a longitudinal water quality profile from the estuary mouth  to the inland extent is displayed. Read more

Full estuary snapshots below use dates where samples at every active monitoring site were recorded. View full and partial snapshots

Winter 2018

Summer 2018

Creative Commons CC BY
All content, files, data and images provided by the EstuaryWatch Data Portal and Gallery are subject to a Creative Commons Attribution License

Content is made available to be used in any way, and should always attribute EstuaryWatch and www.estuarywatch.org.au