Herring Island was created in 1928 when a river channel was cut across a meander in the Yarra River to improve flood mitigation. Since that time management responsibility for the island has been transferred between a range of authorities. In 1985 the Herring Island Committee of Management was appointed to take responsibility for management of the island. A management plan for Herring Island was produced by the Department of Conservation and Environment in 1991 outlining actions for the island's protection and use. Melbourne Parks and Waterways has recently taken over management and is in the process of planning the future use of the island.
Biosis Research Pty Ltd was commissioned by Melbourne Parks and Waterways to conduct a fauna survey of Herring Island. The purpose of the project was as to:
- to understand the island's fauna and its needs
- to recommend management actions to improve the current status of the island's fauna
- to investigate re-introduction of native fauna.
Herring Island is 2.8 ha in area and is located in Richmond approximately 4 km from the Melbourne CBD. Until 1976, the island was used as a dumping site for silt from river dredging. A levee bank has been constructed around the perimeter of the island, rising to a height of 5 m above low water level, and 2 m above the central flat portion of the island. Within the bank, mounded areas have been constructed from deposits of dredge material. As a result, the present surface of the island is artificial, except for small areas in the north east and north west corners.
Vegetation on the island consists of a few remnants of indigenous riparian forest and grassland communities, as well as native and exotic species that have been planted over the past 60 years. while, as well as native and past 60 years. The earlier plantings are mainly around the perimeter of the island, while more recently, since cessation of silt dumping, the central flat areas and silt mounds have been planted.