A CONSERVATION project providing a safe haven for as many as 20,000 migratory waterbirds each year in Western Port Bay has won a conservation award.

The Australian Financial Review Magazine National Sponsorship Awards selected Project BIRDS (Bayer International Regeneration and Development Scheme) as the winner of the Science, Environment, Health and Education category.

Project BIRDS is a joint initiative between pharmaceutical and chemical company Bayer, which has a plant in Mulgrave, Parks Victoria and Greening Australia.

The project has focused on maintaining and improving the wetlands in Western Port Bay.

In the past 12 months, the project has looked at the long-term conservation of habitat in the northern part of Western Port.

It has resulted in improvements in vegetation, new fencing of sensitive areas, walking tracks and board walks, interpretive signs and an education program.

Bayer’s quality and training manager for the diagnostics business group Mark White said the company was proud to be involved in the local project.

“It is an excellent result,” Dr White said.

“At the start of the project, it was never an intention to win an award but it is a satisfying for the organisation to be recognised.”

Dr White said Bayer staff were actively involved in the project, taking part in activities including working bees at the site.