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Community Caring for Bandicoot Brook

Waroona District High School’s Bush Rangers have adopted Bandicoot Reserve as a study area

Look what’s happening at Bandicoot Brook! With a little help from the students at Waroona District High School, the Coolup Land Conservation District Committee (LCDC) will continue a project to protect rare flora and Nationally listed TEC’s.

The National Landcare Program funded Community Environment Grant was awarded to Coolup LCDC in June this year to help build on weed management activities started in 2014 as part of the Bandicoot Brook Reserve restoration program. Colleen Archibald, NRM Support Officer, based at the Waroona Landcare Centre provides the Coolup LCDC with guidance and support.

A 68ha linear reserve of remnant vegetation, Bandicoot Brook Reserve provides an important linkage between the Murray River in the east and the Peel-Harvey Estuary in the west. The reserve is home to critically endangered clay pan communities,  including three Nationally listed TEC (Threatened Ecological Communities) and 18 species of rare and priority flora. The site is a window into what much of the eastern Swan Coast Plain would have looked like prior to European settlement.

Serious weed invasion from bulbous and grass weeds is the main threat to the reserve. The Coolup LCDC are supporting the Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions, with activities aiming to implement strategic and effective weed control, encouraging native plant regeneration and improving the condition of the surrounding clay pan communities.

Bandicoot Brook Reserve is a perfect site for both education and community activities. The Waroona District High School Year 9 Bushranger’s class have adopted the reserve as their study area. Educational field trips will be held throughout the project, focusing on the importance of the wetlands and woodlands of the Pinjarra Plain.  Regular community walks, talks and hands-on management activities with schools and the wider community will raise awareness of the values of Bandicoot Brook Reserve and the importance of the wetlands and woodlands of the Pinjarra and Swan Coastal Plain.

This project is supported through the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.


Media Contact:  Jane O’Malley, Chief Executive Officer, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council,, (08) 6369 8800


We acknowledge the Noongar people as Traditional Custodians of this land and pay our respects to all Elders past and present


Grant helps protect world-class environment at Lake Clifton

PHCC’s Jane O’Malley, Lake Clifton-Herron Landcare Group’s Nancy Fardin and Jenny Rose with Keith Armstrong, Neil Blake and Neil Richards from the Department of Environment and Energy

One of Western Australia’s most important wetlands has been given a boost, with funding from the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council helping to protect the fragile environment at Lake Clifton.

The PHCC has provided almost $10,000 to the Lake Clifton-Herron Landcare Group through round two of their Community Environment Grants, enabling the group to carry out on-ground activities across a stretch of shoreline at the lake.

The Lake Clifton-Herron Landcare group used some of the funds to carry out a weed survey which is now informing a weed control programme which will take place shortly. A further $15,730 of funding is committed through Phase two of the PHCC Community Environment grants, and will go towards implementing weed control at the site.

“The weed survey will also help inform an action plan for the lake, and this will need to be considered carefully to get the best result for future projects,” Jenny Rose from the Lake Clifton-Herron Landcare Group said.

Lake Clifton is one of the most valuable environmental sites in the City of Mandurah, Shire of Waroona and broader Peel Region and is part of the Peel-Yalgorup Ramsar system, which is a Ramsar wetland of international significance.

 “The Lake Clifton-Herron Landcare Group has been working hard for many years to protect the lake by managing weeds and the survey is assisting to focus priority actions to achieve the group’s vision, which is to restore the Lake’s shoreline vegetation to a more natural state.” PHCC CEO Jane O’Malley said.

Removing weeds will help clear the way for future planting programs to re-establish a native buffer of vegetation, which provides habitat for local and international migratory shorebirds and the small organisms on which the Shorebirds birds feed on.

The vegetation buffer also filters unwanted nutrients from water, stopping them entering the lake and upsetting the natural balance of the ecosystem, which is critical to the threatened federally listed Thrombolites, which have existed over thousands of years at Lake Clifton and are iconic to the Peel Harvey region.

This project is supported through the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.


Media Contact:  Jane O’Malley, Chief Executive Officer, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council,, (08) 6369 8800


We acknowledge the Noongar people as Traditional Custodians of this land and pay our respects to all Elders past and present

Farmers 4 Fauna Project: Partnership Announcement

Numbat (Myrmecobius fasciatus) in Dryandra Woodland (photo courtesy of Rob McLean from Numbat Taskforce)

22 January 2018…An exciting partnership project between the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council (PHCC), Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) and Project Numbat is providing support to landholders near the Dryandra Woodland to control feral animals on their properties to protect threatened native animals.

Dryandra Woodland is a National Park and is located in the upper reaches of the Peel-Harvey catchment, straddling the Shires of Narrogin, Cuballing, Williams and Wandering. The woodland is one of WA’s most valuable nature conservation reserves as it is home to unique native flora and fauna species, including the threatened woylie (Bettongia penicillata) and Western Australia’s state mammal emblem, the numbat (Myrmecobius fasciatus).  Dryandra is the largest remnant of original vegetation in the western wheatbelt and the only area left in WA where Numbats live where they have not been re-introduced.  The former Threatened Species Commissioner had a particular affinity with our Numbats and, in putting their vulnerability into context, used to quote that Numbats are rarer than Black Rhino’s.

Numbats are one of the 20 mammals identified in the Commonwealth Government’s Threatened Species Strategy. The Strategy acknowledges the role farmers and private landholders play in the conservation of our native animals and it has an ambitious target of culling 2 million feral cats across Australia by 2020.

Monitoring at Dryandra shows that feral cats and foxes are coming into the woodland through adjacent bushland and farmland areas, and woylie and numbat populations were continuing to decline. In response the DBCA introduced the Dryandra Numbat Woylie (Predator Control) project in 2015 and began working with the community, and collaborating with neighbouring landowners to assist to protect these iconic mammals.  The Predator Control project enabled some complementary feral predator control initiatives to be introduced in addition to the ongoing baiting to control foxes. The Farmers 4 Fauna is enabling greater support for Farmers to be involved, with over 70 Farmers attending the launch of the project.

The PHCC and Project Numbat are now engaging with surrounding landholders who are enthusiastic about playing a significant role in the protection of our native animals through the Farmers 4 Fauna project. By applying this coordinated approach across public and private land, PHCC, DBCA, Project Numbat and the Farming community aim to increase the number of native animals in, and around the Park and minimise  risks to agriculture from disease and predation by foxes and feral cats.

The Farmers 4 Fauna project is already seeing the Farming community band together towards this common goal.  Farmers around Dryandra now have access to free cat traps and 1080 baits which have been provided to the Shires of Cuballing, Narrogin, Wandering and Williams.  Training and licensing support is also being provided, as well as events and field days which will continue to bring the Farming community together to share information and success stories. Monitoring will continue to assess the impact of the actions and focus efforts to areas of most need.

PHCC Chairman Andy Gulliver said – “The Farmers 4 Fauna project is a great example of how successful partnerships can achieve fantastic things for our community and our environment. This project will result in meaningful support for some of our most treasured native species, in one of the most significant bushland remnants remaining across the West Australian Wheatbelt. We thank both the DBCA and Project Numbat for all their hard work in the development and initiation of this great project, and our Farming community for their enthusiasm in playing a key role in protecting our native animals”.

This project is supported by the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.


Media Contact:  Jane O’Malley, Chief Executive Officer, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council,, (08) 6369 8800


We acknowledge the Noongar people as Traditional Custodians of this land and pay our respects to all Elders past and present

Bird Walk and Talk at Lake Yalgorup

Golo Maurer, Key Biodiversity Area Program Manager from Birdlife Australia logging his observations using Birdata.

18 January 2018….A keen group of bird enthusiasts and curious community members recently joined specialists from Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, BirdLife Australia and the Mandurah Bird Observers Group at the beautiful Lake Yalgorup to discover more about this diverse wetland and its migratory and resident bird populations.

13 people from the local community were lucky enough to share an early morning “Walk and Talk” at Lake Yalgorup led by Golo Maurer from BirdLife Australia along with Bill Russell and Bob Patterson from the Mandurah Bird Observers Group. This was a great chance for the group to spend a couple of hours bird-watching and enjoy a morning tea information session about the value of bird-watching survey data and how it will help Birdlife gain insight and protect Australia’s bird species.

Lake Yalgorup, a stunning wetland nestled in the Yalgorup National Park just south of Mandurah, is one of many lakes which make up the Peel-Yalgorup Wetland System. The 26,500 hectare wetland system, including Lake Yalgorup, is a designated wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention (Ramsar Site 482) and is renowned as the largest and most diverse estuarine system in southern WA.

By organising this event at Lake Yalgorup, PHCC hope to introduce residents from Mandurah and the broader catchment area to bird-watching, meet and connect with experienced bird-watchers, promote the beauty and attractions of the Peel-Yalgorup wetland system and share information about the importance of bird-watching.

Beginning the Bird Walk and Talk at Martins Tank campsite, the group braved wet weather to explore the bushland around Lake Yalgorup.  As experienced bird-watchers eager to share their knowledge and expertise, Golo, Bill and Bob talked with the group about the diverse wetland, local bird species, and how individuals and groups can take part in bird monitoring. Despite the poor weather conditions, the group enjoyed the experience, soaking up (pardon the pun!) the beauty of the surrounding landscape and spotting twelve different species of birds.

During the morning tea information session, Golo demonstrated how to complete a bird survey using the innovative citizen science App, Birdata. Birdata is a gateway to BirdLife Australia data where users can draw bird distribution maps, generate bird lists for any part of the country and also submit survey information to this important environmental database. The group entered their sightings for the day on Birdata, with a few of them downloading the App and entering the survey data themselves.

Golo also talked about BirdLife’s Guardian program, another citizen science initiative where people and groups can register to become guardians of Key Biodiversity Areas and take part in annual Easter Health Checks which report on the condition of an area. By becoming a guardian of Key Biodiversity Areas and using the mobile App Birdata, community members are able to contribute to a pool of valuable scientific data and create a snapshot of an area helping BirdLife and other environmental organisations protect bird species and their habitat.

PHCC plans to organise more events just like this in the future. If you’re interested in learning about birds and how to bird-watch, please register your interest by emailing

Andy Gulliver from PHCC said, “Yalgorup Lake is a part of the Peel-Yalgorup System, a wetland of international importance listed Ramsar 482 site. The ecologically diverse site is recognised for its migratory and wetland birds and PHCC is pleased assist in connecting residents with an opportunity to learn about this unique environment and try their hand at bird-watching. Bird monitoring plays a crucial part in conserving this special area. We are thrilled to able to introduce new people to these groups and to the many opportunities for them to play a role in citizen science projects that make a valuable contribution to conservation of the Peel-Yalgorup Wetland.”

To find out more about Birdlife, Birdata and Key Biodiversity Areas please visit the following link at

The Bird Walk and Talk at Lake Yalgorup was supported by funding from the Western Australian Government’s State NRM Program.


Media Contact:  Jane O’Malley, Chief Executive Officer, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council,, (08) 6369 8800


We acknowledge the Noongar people as Traditional Custodians of this land and pay our respects to all Elders past and present


ARC Linkage Project, Key to Estuary Protection

Dr Alan Cottingham and Dr Chris Hallett from Murdoch University and PHCC’s Dr Steve Fisher

2 January 2018…Have you heard about the latest progress in the ARC-Linkage Project? Peel-Harvey Catchment Council is a partner on an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Project titled, Balancing estuarine and societal health in a changing environment; a project led by internationally recognised experts, right here in our backyard. The project team involves more than twenty people from four universities, two State Government departments, two local governments and PHCC.

Much of the 4000 km of our local waterways on the Swan Coastal Plain is degraded due to past and present management practices in our catchment. These practices including inappropriate land uses, alteration of natural watercourses and construction of artificial drains have created sediment and reduced water quality in the catchment which, in turn, can lead to algal blooms or fish kills in the lower reaches of the rivers (such as those that occurred in the Murray River in the autumn of 2017) and in the estuary itself.

The ARC Linkage project investigates the links between catchment management and downstream effects and will use this information to predict changes in estuary health in response to changes in catchment land uses and estuary management. The research will also produce a report card of the current condition of the Peel-Harvey estuary.

Information gathering and water quality monitoring is underway across the estuary and wider catchment. This research will guide decision-making across our catchment, including the internationally recognised Peel-Yalgorup System Ramsar wetlands site.

The Peel Estuary ARC-Linkage Project commenced in 2016 and will conclude in 2019.

Research Team and Partners

The research team is led by Fiona Valesini and Chris Hallett of Murdoch University and Matt Hipsey from University of WA along with scientists from Southern Cross University (NSW), University of Hull (UK) and the WA Department of Water and Environmental Regulation. Partner Organisations are PHCC, WA Department of Premier and Cabinet, the City of Mandurah and the Shire of Murray.

The Partners and Research Team contributed $640,000 in cash and $1.9M in-kind to the project which was used to lever a $541,000 contribution from the Australian Research Council.

Producing a report card for the Peel-Harvey estuary system, and models to predict the future condition of the estuary, are important to all the partner organisations. The report cards will allow waterways managers and the community to assess the condition of our rivers and estuaries.

The PHCC’s Science Advisor, Steve Fisher represents the PHCC. His main role is to link related regional activities and facilitate scientific discussions between the Research Team and the Partner Organisations.

Marina Development at Point Grey

The proposed Point Grey Marina development is a timely example of the need to assess the current condition of a site prior to development.  The marina proposal, which includes dredging and maintaining a navigation channel across the northern end of the Harvey estuary, was approved in 2012, conditional to works commencing by 1 August 2017. This 5-year “time limit for authorisation” has lapsed.

On 26 September 2017, PHCC made a submission to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) opposing an extension to the time limit. PHCC contend that the estuarine water quality, the threatened ecological community of samphire marshes, seagrass coverage and shorebird habitat will all be adversely affected by the development. The PHCC submission is based on a better understanding of the consequences of disturbing sediments through dredging and operation of the marina. This better understanding was gained since the proposal was initially authorised by the EPA in 2012.

The effects of the proposed Point Grey Marina on the health of the estuary have been difficult to predict in the past due to a lack of baseline data.  The ARC-Linkage project has been invaluable in targeting knowledge gaps that currently hinder evidence-based decision making.  When complete, the estuary report card and models will help to assess the impact of potential developments on the health of the estuary.


Considerable community concern over the adverse environmental impacts of the proposed marina, and the focus of the ARC-Linkage project on measuring the condition of the estuary, prompted PHCC to host a SHARE event (Social Help, Action and Resources for Environment) in September to inform and involve our community. About 40 members of the community attended this event where members of the research team, Fiona Valesini, Matt Hipsey and Karl Hennig (Department of Water and Environmental Regulation), presented an overview of the project, their research findings so far and a history of development and landuses and environmental issues, including fish kills, since the 1800s.

PHCC organises four SHARE events per year, in March, May, July and September, at their offices in Mandurah.  The SHARE in May 2018 will focus on the causes and response to fish kills in Peel-Harvey waterways.

Team effort

The combined effort of the scientists and partners achieves more than individual organisations working on separate projects. This team effort enables managers of the Peel-Harvey estuary to make more informed decisions based on scientific evidence.

It is hoped that high profile projects such as this will attract other leading scientists and environmental experts to the Peel Region. Future growth in scientific research will enhance current efforts, helping to minimise the impacts of urban and other developments on the valuable and unique environmental assets of the Peel-Harvey estuary and catchment.

This research was partially funded by the Australian Government through the Australian Research Council.


Media Contact:  Jane O’Malley, Chief Executive Officer, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council,, (08) 6369 8800


We acknowledge the Noongar people as Traditional Custodians of this land and pay our respects to all Elders past and present

Winner of 2017 John Oldham Conservation Employee Award

PHCC’s Thelma Crook

20 December 2017…Thelma Crook is the worthy recipient of the 2017 John Oldham Conservation Employee Award, in recognition of outstanding commitment and dedication in working for the protection of Western Australia’s Environment. The award was presented by former Premier of WA and Conservation Council WA President, Carmen Lawrence on Saturday 18 November.

Thelma has dedicated almost 30 years to working and volunteering on environmental projects in the Peel-Harvey Region. As the PHCC Program Manager, Thelma played an integral part in securing more than $4 million in funding, guiding significant on-ground works, bringing key partners together and engaging the community.  Building and fostering partnerships with local Noongar groups, Thelma has earned a great amount of respect and is much cared for by our Noongar and overall community.

Colleagues, friends and partners of PHCC would like congratulate Thelma on winning the 2017 John Oldham Award and, as a highly regarded team member, extend their thanks to Thelma for her years of commitment, dedication and enthusiasm.

An esteemed professional, a caring community member and a keen advocate for environmental action, Thelma embodies the true spirit of the PHCC’s motto, “People Working Together for a Healthy Environment”.

Congratulations Thelma!


Media Contact:  Jane O’Malley, Chief Executive Officer, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council,, (08) 6369 8800


We acknowledge the Noongar people as Traditional Custodians of this land and pay our respects to all Elders past and present


Wetlands and People Plan Launch – Celebrating Wise Use of our Wetlands

5 December 2017…On November 1st the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council officially launched Australia’s first CEPA Action Plan for a Ramsar-listed site.  The Peel-Yalgorup SystemWetlands and People Plan’ is a CEPA Action Plan for our wetland system, including our iconic Peel-Harvey Estuary.  The Wetlands and People Plan is a significant step towards “wise use” of our waterways, which are the basis of the economy of the Peel Region, and so valued by our community and visitors.

The Ramsar Site 482 wetlands, including the Peel-Harvey Estuary, Lakes Clifton, Preston, Mealup and McLarty and numerous other water bodies near the Estuary and coast are recognised as wetlands of international significance under the Ramsar Convention for their outstanding environmental, social and economic values. At the centre of the Ramsar philosophy is the “wise use” of wetlands; the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands and all the services they provide, for the benefit of people and nature.

The Wetlands and People Plan is for those who use the wetlands, those with businesses which benefit from the wetlands, and those who make decisions which affect the wetlands. The Plan applies communication, capacity building, education, participation and awareness approaches to better manage and protect the Peel-Yalgorup Wetland System.

Supported by funds from Lotterywest and led by PHCC Project Manager Thelma Crook, the Plan was developed with the support of an expert panel from a range of backgrounds including tourism, planning, local government, social sciences, youth, biodiversity and culture. Extensive consultation during development stages ensured stakeholders contributed to, and understood their roles in implementing the Plan for this complex wetland system.

In opening proceedings at the launch of the Plan, local Noongar Elder Harry Nannup led a moving Welcome to Country, “Welcome to my country, it’s a beautiful country. We work with the right people for this place; these are the right people”.

Stakeholder groups who are identified, and have agreed to play active roles in implementing the plan were well represented by nearly 50 attendees at the launch on the Dawesville foreshore of the Harvey estuary. Guests included some expert panel members in Paddi Creevey, Mayor Rhys Williams, Jan Star and Garry Middle. Mandurah Deputy Mayor Caroline Knight, Shire of Murray CEO Dean Unsworth and Councillor Steve Lee, Professor Pierre Horwitz, Bird Life Australia member Bill Russell, Hillary Wheater from FRAGYLE and Barry Small from Canoe Trails Friends also attended. Eric Lumsden, Chairman of the Western Australian Planning Commission and advocate for wise use attended, reflecting the importance planning plays in the health of the estuary.

WA Science Ambassador, Professor Lyn Beazley officially launched the ‘Wetlands and People Plan’ marking the historical moment as Australia’s first Ramsar site CEPA Action Plan. Professor Beazley acknowledged the many pressures on the wetlands and the importance of wise management.

PHCC Chairman, Andy Gulliver, asked everyone to pause and enjoy the defining moment in the management of the Ramsar site, “You have to inform to inspire and then inspire to act.” Mr Gulliver said, “The PHCC and its partners have created Australia’s only site-specific stand-alone CEPA action plan under our international obligations to the Ramsar Convention. It has taken many years of persistent effort and commitment. The launch of the Plan is a watershed moment for our community. Over time it will change the way we think about and value our natural assets.”

“Thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of investment depend on the health of our waterways and wetlands”, he said. “It’s an unfortunate lesson of history that we often don’t realise what we’ve got until it’s gone. The ‘Wetlands and People Plan’ will inform the community about the true value of our wetlands. Well informed communities make better decisions.”

Natalie Goddard from Mandurah Cruises also spoke at the launch, explaining the huge economic contribution the Estuary makes to the local tourism industry, “We get to showcase this place, like nowhere else in the world, to 100,000 visitors every year. The visitors want to experience nature, the dolphins, plentiful fish and a healthy ecosystem”.

The Plan’s 4 Goals endeavour to create a brighter long-term future for the wetlands through encouraging wise-use, well-informed decision making, active stewardship and advocacy across all sectors. The Plan will also help the Australian Government meet its obligations as signatories to a number of international agreements (Ramsar, as well as the international Migratory Bird Agreements with Japan, China & the Republic of Korea – JAMBA, CAMBA & ROKAMBA).

PHCC CEO, Jane O’Malley added some local context, “We purposely launched the Wetlands and People Plan on the 1st of November, the opening of the Crab season. In doing so we celebrated the reason for the two-month closure to crabbing; wise-use to protect the breeding stock. This means that crabbing will be a recreational opportunity for this and future generations. This is part of the reason the fishery has gained Marine Stewardship Accreditation for both the recreational and commercial crab fishery.”

In his closing statement, Mr Gulliver stated, “During the development of the Plan a comment was made that, “As amazing as the Peel-Yalgorup Ramsar site is, it is astounding that our community and political leaders know so little about it”– we have great faith that working with our partners to implement the Plan this will no longer be the case.”

The creative spirit of the Waugal is believed to be responsible for the creation of rivers, lakes and wetlands and also a protector of the environment, a fitting reminder of the cultural significance of the Peel-Yalgorup Wetland System. In a poignant conclusion to the launch, Franklyn Nannup under Elder Harry Nannup’s guidance invited those in attendance to walk to the water’s edge, take a handful of sand and cast it into the water in a form of greeting to the Waugal, to assure the spirit we were there to do no harm, but here to help.



Media Contact:  Jane O’Malley, Chief Executive Officer, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council,, (08) 6369 8800


We acknowledge the Noongar people as Traditional Custodians of this land and pay our respects to all Elders past and present


The Lake Clifton Festival, a Natural Success

1 December 2017…The Lake Clifton Festival attracted visitors from near and far to celebrate the natural wonders of the area. Held at Cape Bouvard Winery and with Yalgorup National Park as the backdrop, it was the perfect setting to showcase the area’s unique attractions in and around Lake Clifton.

Lake Clifton is one of the most valuable natural assets of the Peel region and provides habitat for numerous migratory and resident shorebird species. The lake is also home to living Thrombolites; a striking population of calcareous rock-like structures in the lake formed by microbial colonies over thousands of years. The 26,500 hectare Peel-Yalgorup wetland system, including Lake Clifton and other lakes in the Yalgorup National Park, are designated wetlands of international importance under the Ramsar Convention (Ramsar Site 482).

In hosting the festival, the City of Mandurah and Peel-Harvey Catchment Council were able to highlight the significance and value of Lake Clifton, entice new visitors to the area, bring the local community together and announce future events designed to promote and protect this very special area. The festival was well received with over 150 visitors who enjoyed free activities such as Noongar cultural tours, bird talks, possum and wildflower workshops and the Land for Wildlife interactive stall.

Ornithologist, Bill Rutherford, was on hand to talk about the many ways the local community can get involved in bird-watching. Bill shared his knowledge on how to use bird-watching equipment and talked about bird species that migrate from Siberia and Asia each year to feed on the mudflats of the Peel-Yalgorup Wetland.

George and Leanne Walley, from Mandjoogoordap Dreaming, led guided cultural tours to the Thrombolites (Woggaal’s Noorook) of Lake Clifton. The Walk and Talk tours took visitors on “a journey with George” discovering the cultural significance of Lake Clifton whilst learning about life on country, bush medicine and local dreamtime stories.

The PHCC Land for Wildlife stall offered kids the chance to build a Land for Wildlife model, transforming an empty paddock model into a wildlife habitat for crazy critter creations. The Land for Wildlife stall was a great opportunity to promote the area’s new PHCC Land for Wildlife program funded by the City of Mandurah and Shire of Waroona.

The City of Mandurah Mayor, Rhys Williams said the Lake Clifton Festival was a fantastic way to bring the local community together to celebrate the iconic and beautiful water body of Lake Clifton and its surroundings, “We know our environment is so important and this area is truly special.  It’s steeped in dreamtime mythology and home to the largest lake-bound thrombolite reef in the southern hemisphere which is recognised under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Significance,” he said.

PHCC Chair, Andy Gulliver was delighted with the efforts of the City of Mandurah and PHCC in bringing the festival to fruition, “It was great to see this festival bring together residents and environmental and community groups, providing them with an opportunity to exchange stories, share information and work together to help protect the lake and its environment.”

The Lake Clifton Festival is the first of many activities planned in the Lake Clifton Catchment. The City of Mandurah and PHCC will continue to work on a range of events and activities over the coming spring and summer months including the Bird and Wildflower ‘Walk and Talks’ and the very popular Night Stalks.

For more information please visit the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council website at


This project is supported by funding from the Western Australian Government’s State NRM Program and The Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.


Media Contact:  Jane O’Malley, Chief Executive Officer, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council,, (08) 6369 8800

We acknowledge the Noongar people as Traditional Custodians of this land and pay our respects to all Elders past and present

Stories of the Fairy Tern

Cherilyn Corker painting a Fairy Tern

15 December 2017…An exciting project in the heart of Mandurah has seen the establishment of a new Fairy Tern Sancturay to protect this vulnerable bird species. In a bid to secure a special space for Fairy Terns to nest and breed, the City of Mandurah and Coastwest reserved an area at the Mandurah Marina primarily for the conservation Fairy Terns.

In WA, the Fairy Tern is listed as vulnerable under the EPBC Act, 1999.  They breed between October and February scratching fragile nests into the sand along beaches and estuary shorelines. This nesting behaviour makes their roosting and breeding sites extremely vulnerable to habitat disturbance and predation by introduced species.

The New Zealand Fairy Tern population is in drastic decline with only 4 breeding pairs remaining. Fairy Terns in WA have relied on the shorelines along the west coast and around Mandurah for nesting and breeding but with rapid coastal development our Fairy Tern population is also under serious threat. This prompted action by the Mandurah community to halt the decline of Fairy Tern populations before it is too late.

The City of Mandurah with the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council and Conservation Council WA are working together to protect the viability of the Fairy Tern population in WA by creating the community-managed sanctuary, with funding from Coastwest. The project will not only provide a safe nesting and breeding site in Mandurah but has created a space for the community to learn about and act in the conservation of a very special bird species. The Fairy Tern Sanctuary at the Mandurah Marina replicates another successful WA project at Rous Head, Fremantle, and was opened in November, before the Fairy Tern breeding season.

In support of the City of Mandurah and to complement the new sanctuary, PHCC designed a workshop for the community in a hands-on approach to Fairy Tern conservation. The Stories of the Fairy Tern Workshop was attended by 30 community members who were given the chance to paint Fairy Tern decoys, learn more about the Fairy Tern Sanctuary, connect with the Fairy Tern network and find out how to get involved with other citizen science aspects of this project.

The workshop was presented by Dr Nic Dunlop, a terrestrial and marine ecologist with special interests in seabird populations. Dr Dunlop spoke about the new the Fairy Tern Sanctuary at Mandurah Marina and also about the Fairy Tern breeding habits, behaviours and the importance of installing decoys into the newly prepared site.

Sue Kalab, a watercolour artist and convenor of BirdLife Australia in Bunbury, concluded the evening by showcasing her paintings on Fairy Terns and sharing her knowledge on Fairy Tern behaviour and other shorebirds. Sue spoke about the fragility of the coast and how she is driven to making a contribution to conservation through art.

Andy Gulliver from PHCC saidWe are pleased to work with the City of Mandurah on this project and share a role in connecting the community with the Fairy Tern Sanctuary. The evening was well received, participants genuinely enjoyed learning about the Fairy Terns, and being able to do their part for their sanctuary.  The Fairy Tern Sanctuary offers many exciting opportunities for the community to be involved in a positive conservation story right in the heart of Mandurah and we are excited to see this project progress.”

Anyone interested in volunteering to assist with the Fairy Tern Sanctuary should contact

The workshop was supported by funding from the Western Australian Government’s State NRM Program.

Coastwest is a State Government initiative undertaken by the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) and the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage


Media Contact:  Jane O’Malley, Chief Executive Officer, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council,, (08) 6369 8800


We acknowledge the Noongar people as Traditional Custodians of this land and pay our respects to all Elders past and present

Wetland Yarns – Uniting Science and Culture

Plants and wildlife of Lake Mealup captured in a three panel by students at Greenfields Primary

Plants and wildlife of Lake Mealup captured in a three panel by students at Greenfields Primary

13 November 2017…Greenfields Primary School recently took part in an excursion to learn about the cultural and scientific importance of two wetland sites in the Peel-Yalgorup System. The “Wetland Yarns” project brought together Noongar Elders, scientists, educators and artists, all sharing their knowledge and stories with students about the value of our wetland system. Students worked with a local artist to capture the experience in a large painting.

The “Wetland Yarns” project educates students about local culture and the Peel-Yalgorup System while outside in the wetland environment. Students develop a deeper connection with their local wetlands and an appreciation of relationships between people and the land. They also learnt about the importance of environmental responsibility and how they can play a role in conserving and protecting our wetlands.

Peel-Harvey Catchment Council programs aim to communicate how we are all part of a living eco-system and everything is connected. PHCC also teaches the community what makes these waterways so scientifically unique and the ways in which we can all help conserve and protect our waterways.

The Wetland Yarns project is one of the first actions of the recently launched ‘Wetlands and People Plan’. One of the plan’s goals is to Increase the community’s capacity to protect wetlands. This is being done in a number of ways, including sharing stories of our wetlands.

Fifty two Year 3 students from Greenfields Primary School participated in the June Wetland Yarns project. The excursion included a visit on country to two wetland sites at the Peel-Yalgorup System; Lake Mealup and Lake Clifton.

The day was led by local Noongar Aboriginal Elders and community leaders with a moving Welcome to Country from Noongar Elder, Harry Nannup. Community leader, George Walley, engaged the students with cultural story-telling and cultural knowledge of the area. George shared Noongar language with the students, teaching traditional names for plants and animals and speaking about the cultural significance of the land.

Peel-Harvey Catchment Council Science Advisor, Steve Fisher, shared with students his knowledge of conservation and the environmental importance of the lakes. Steve’s time with the students reflected his love of the Peel-Harvey environment and how each person’s actions can help to improve the health of the Peel-Harvey waterways.

Sharon Meredith, a PHCC Wetlands and People Officer, facilitated the excursion in conjunction with the Greenfields Primary School principal, Shannon Wright and the Primary School Educator, Leanne Walley making the day a memorable and unique experience for all participants.

Two weeks after the wetland excursion an artist visited Greenfields Primary School to lead students in the creation of a large painting depicting the experience. Angela Rossen is a renowned local artist with special interests in conservation and sustainability projects with schools and community groups. Angela worked with the students over four days to create the artwork which conveys a wetland setting of Lake Mealup and the plants and animals that live in that environment.

The artwork aims to unite the message of science and culture by representing the biodiversity and cultural importance of the wetland through art.  In addition to the wetland excursion the students gained skills in observational drawing, painting and working collaboratively.

The finished artwork is accompanied by a panel depicting the Noongar names for the plants and animals. George Walley assisted in providing the Noongar language translations for the panel. The picture will be displayed at the Greenfields Primary School.

Andy Gulliver, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council Chair, commented on the success of the Wetland Yarns project; “It is a pleasure to collaborate with Greenfields Primary and the Noongar community to create this ‘hands on’ educational experience. We hope this experience leaves a long lasting impression for the students involved and for future students. The artwork is one way to keep that experience alive at the school and continue to pass on the cultural and environmental message to others. This has been a pilot project and we will support similar projects for other schools into the future.”

The artwork is to be officially presented to the Greenfields Primary School on the 17th of November by The Hon. Andrew Hastie, Federal Member for Canning, Mayor Williams from the City of Mandurah and Andy Gulliver, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council Chairman.

This project is supported by the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program, Western Australian Government’s State NRM Program and City of Mandurah.


Media Contact:  Jane O’Malley, Chief Executive Officer, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council,, (08) 6369 8800

We acknowledge the Noongar people as Traditional Custodians of this land and pay our respects to all Elders past and present


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