Adapting the Western District Lakes to Climate Change

The Western District Lakes are an iconic feature of the region’s landscape. They define what we visualise when we think about the Victorian Volcanic Plains, they have highly significant cultural values and play a vital role in the survival of many of the region’s threatened flora and fauna.

The Lakes have been influenced by many changes in the landscape – mostly geological and human induced. They are now experiencing a new level of change – changes to the climate. As the Lakes are responding to these changes, how we value and manage the Lakes into the future also needs to change.

Planning for climate change requires a shift from normal, traditional planning that suggests one final outcome, towards another type of planning that considers multiple possible outcomes and plans for change. ‘Adaptation Pathways’ is a process that allows this. It allows multiple possible futures and for investigating the robustness/flexibility of various options across those plausible futures.

The Corangamite CMA, in partnership with RMIT, is testing the concept of adaptation pathways in how we can strategically plan for climate change impacts on our natural assets. Landholders and representatives from government agencies, community groups, research institutions and indigenous groups have been participating in a series of workshops that are looking at management options for the Western District Lakes, but under a climate change lens. The Corangamite CMA is hoping to learn as much as the participants through the workshops. Actions from the workshops will help better plan for the lakes under a changing climate, as well as assist the Corangamite CMA and our partners apply adaptation pathways for other natural assets within the region.

For further information on the workshops and/or more information on adaptation pathways, please contact Chris Pitfield, Strategy Coordinator at the Corangamite CMA at