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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.

PHCC SHARE Event

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.

ENDS

Media Contact:  Jane O’Malley, Chief Executive Officer, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, Jane.Omalley@peel-harvey.org.au, (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!

ENDS

Media Contact:  Jane O’Malley, Chief Executive Officer, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, Jane.Omalley@peel-harvey.org.au, (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.

 

ENDS

Media Contact:  Jane O’Malley, Chief Executive Officer, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, Jane.Omalley@peel-harvey.org.au, (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

http://www.peel-harvey.org.au/

 

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

ENDS

Media Contact:  Jane O’Malley, Chief Executive Officer, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, Jane.Omalley@peel-harvey.org.au, (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 environmental.services@mandurah.wa.gov.au

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

ENDS

Media Contact:  Jane O’Malley, Chief Executive Officer, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, Jane.Omalley@peel-harvey.org.au, (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.

ENDS

Media Contact:  Jane O’Malley, Chief Executive Officer, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, Jane.Omalley@peel-harvey.org.au, (08) 6369 8800

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

Lake Clifton to benefit from new Land for Wildlife project

PHCC’s Jesse Rowley, Jordon Garbellini and Jo Garvey

PHCC’s Jesse Rowley, Jordon Garbellini and Jo Garvey

8 November 2017…The City of Mandurah has committed funding to the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council for a part-time Land for Wildlife officer to help landowners manage wildlife habitat in the Lake Clifton catchment, across Mandurah and Waroona. The Shire of Waroona has also contributed funds to boost the project within its first year.

Land for Wildlife is a long-running voluntary scheme which encourages and assists property owners to include nature conservation with other land management practices. Changes to the WA state funding structure means Land for Wildlife is now being delivered by each of the 7 NRM Regions across WA.

Thanks to funding from the City of Mandurah and the Shire of Waroona, the PHCC Land for Wildlife officer will assist landholders to develop personalised plans for their property helping to integrate nature conservation with current land use practice with flow on benefits to Lake Clifton.

Lake Clifton is one of the most valuable environmental assets of the City of Mandurah and broader Peel region. The lake is part of the Peel-Yalgorup Ramsar Site, a wetland of international significance. It provides habitat for numerous migratory and resident shorebird species and is also home to a 15 km reef of Thrombolites. The Lake Clifton Thrombolites attract over 250,000 visitors a year. This federally protected microbial colony of calcareous rock-like structures are thought to be more than 2000 years old.

Lake Clifton is a fragile environment under threat from a changing climate and certain land management practices within the broader catchment. This poses a questionable future for the environmental value of the lake itself. The health of Lake Clifton is inextricably connected to the management of land and water in its catchment.

This property owner stewardship project has been designed by City of Mandurah officers and the Peel Harvey Catchment Council to help address these issues. The Land for Wildlife project will inform, enthuse and support landholders to undertake land management practices aimed at improving wildlife habitat on their property and improving the condition of the lake’s catchment. The ultimate aim is to restore habitats in the lake’s catchment and improve the lake’s water quality and ecosystem functions.

Over the next 5 years, the PHCCs Land for Wildlife officer will undertake site assessments and invite participating landowners to enter into voluntary management agreements. Those that do enter into VMA’s will have access to grant funding for nature conservation projects (subject to future funding).

The Land for Wildlife officer will offer advice, such as:

  • how to integrate wildlife habitat with other uses of private land
  • how to manage remnant bushland and the area’s wildlife
  • the ecological role and requirements of native plants and animals
  • how to include wildlife aspects into revegetation schemes and landcare
  • information about other assistance and incentives that are available

PHCC is already fielding expressions of interest and anticipates high participant numbers upon project commencement. PHCC will continue to work with the City of Mandurah and Shire of Waroona on a range of community engagement activities such as workshops and field days to promote the benefits of the Land for Wildlife project and its value to the health of Lake Clifton.

For more information please visit the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council website at http://peel-harvey.org.au/

 

ENDS

Media Contact:  Jane O’Malley, Chief Executive Officer, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, Jane.Omalley@peel-harvey.org.au, (08) 6369 8800

 

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

An Australian First in Wetland Action Planning

30 October 2017…The Peel-Harvey Catchment Council is set to launch Australia’s first CEPA Action Plan (Wetlands and People Plan) for a Ramsar-listed site.  The plan will promote communication, education, participation and awareness of the Peel-Yalgorup Wetland System and has involved consultation with a myriad of community stakeholders.

The Ramsar Site 482 wetlands, including the Peel-Harvey Estuary, Lake Clifton, Lake Mealup and the lands and lakes of Yalgorup National Park, are recognised as wetlands of international significance under the Ramsar Convention for their outstanding environmental, social and economic values.

In developing the plan, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council convened an expert panel of representatives from government, tourism, education, marketing, environment, planning and community.  Extensive consultation occurred during the process to ensure stakeholders have contributed to, and understand their responsibilities in implementing the plan.

The Wetlands and People Plan for the Peel-Yalgorup System (PYS) has been developed to encourage government, community and industry to become even more involved in the care and management of the Peel‑Yalgorup Wetlands System which face many threats. The Plan recommends actions to raise awareness of the Peel-Yalgorup’s values and is targeted at three main groups:

  • people who use the wetlands,
  • those with businesses which benefit from the wetlands, and
  • those who make decisions which affect the wetlands.

These groups include both local users and visitors and the draft plan reached out to local and state government, recreational groups, businesses, community groups, schools and the general public to generate programs that raise awareness of wetland values and functions.

The official launch of the Wetlands and People Plan will be held on the 1st November.

The Plan reflects the business, social, and environmental interests of stakeholders and beneficiaries with special consideration given to local context, culture and traditions. A copy of the Plan will be distributed to all stakeholders that have a role in meeting the goals of the Wetlands and People Plan.

“We are proud to have Australia’s first site-specific ‘Wetlands and People Plan’ ready for action. It will guide education and promote programs to increase people’s understanding and appreciation of the fantastic wetlands on our doorstep.  It will inform and influence government and politicians to make decisions that will provide for better protection and management,” said Andy Gulliver, PHCC Chairman.

The Wetlands and People Plan was prepared by Peel-Harvey Catchment Council through funding from Lotterywest, with support from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

ENDS

Media Contact:  Jane O’Malley, Chief Executive Officer, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, Jane.Omalley@peel-harvey.org.au, (08) 6369 8800

 

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

 

Alcoa Foundation partners on three Peel-Harvey projects

Three rivers, three projects and one mighty contribution from Alcoa Foundation
Elder Harry Nannup conducting a Smoking Ceremony to bless works on the Serpentine River

Elder Harry Nannup conducting a Smoking Ceremony to bless works on the Serpentine River

20 October 2017…Alcoa Foundation has announced funding of more than $2 million for three environmental projects across the Peel-Harvey Catchment. The partnerships with Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, Greening Australia and The Nature Conservancy will help deliver on-ground and in-water environmental actions in consultation with the community, to improve the health of the Peel-Harvey Catchment over three years.

The projects, which commence in 2017, will contribute directly to the on-going health and management of the Peel-Yalgorup Ramsar System. The 26,500 hectare wetland system, including the Peel-Harvey Estuary, is recognised as a wetland of international significance under the Ramsar Convention (Ramsar Site 482).

There are a number of threats impacting on the rivers and wetlands of the Peel-Harvey including land clearing and agricultural land use, urban development, recreational land use and climate change.

The three separate but complementary projects will enhance existing ventures and boost new initiatives to protect and improve the condition of the three major rivers that discharge in to the Peel-Harvey estuarine system – the Murray, Serpentine and Harvey rivers – and the Peel-Yalgorup Ramsar System.

Peel-Harvey Catchment Council – ‘Connecting Corridors and Communities – Restoring the Serpentine River’

The Peel-Harvey Catchment Council (PHCC) will deliver on-ground environmental actions and community engagement over three years to improve the health of the Serpentine (Bilya) River. The funding will complement other projects including the State Government funded Regional Estuaries Initiative and Transform Peel, by enabling further works on private land, including:

  • Community engagement events and field days
  • Fencing to protect and conserve existing areas of riparian and bushland vegetation
  • Revegetation to reconnect areas of bushland, riparian zones and patches of remnant vegetation
  • Bank stabilisation to improve water quality, habitat and food availability for invertebrates and finfish
  • Biosecurity management of feral animals, weeds and diseases
  • Working with our local Noongar community through all aspects of the project
  • Developing an River Action Plan for the mid and upper reaches of the Serpentine River

Greening Australia – The Three Rivers Initiative

Greening Australia will implement local, on-ground action across the Peel region working on identified priority projects with industry, community and local land management groups to improve the condition of the Serpentine, Murray and Harvey rivers, reverse the loss of habitat for threatened species and integrate priority restoration into Peel-Harvey’s fragmented landscape.

The Nature Conservancy – revitalising the Peel-Harvey Estuary through nature-based solutions

Addressing the growing threats of urban development, fisheries decline and climate change on the long-term health and resilience of the Peel-Harvey Estuary, this project will complement existing work undertaken in the upper catchment. It will focus on marine habitat restoration opportunities for improving fisheries, biodiversity and natural solutions to coastal defence in the estuary.  The project will use The Nature Conservancy’s proven approach for catalysing large-scale investments in estuary protection and repair as being carried out in Oyster Harbour near Albany, and in South Australia and Victoria.

The project will also gather existing environmental, social and economic data to inform the development of online restoration decision-support tools called Coastal Resilience and Conservation Action Planning (CAP) processes to assist with restoration priority setting.

Look out in your local community for upcoming activities and citizen science projects from these organisations to participate in recovery actions for the three rivers and the Peel-Yalgorup Ramsar System.

 Quotes attributable to Alcoa of Australia Managing Director Michael Parker:

 “Alcoa is delighted to be working with three highly respected environmental organisations to support the  Serpentine, Murray and Harvey rivers which are not only environmentally significant, but make important contributions to the social and economic health of the region.”

These new partnerships are very clearly focussed on improved environmental outcomes for the Peel-Harvey Catchment and reflect Alcoa’s commitment to returning value to the communities where we operate.”

Quotes attributable to PHCC Chairman Andy Gulliver:

 “We are excited about this funding announcement. This significant grant enables three organisations to continue work on projects across the Peel-Harvey Catchment and PHCC is proud to be a part of the collaboration. It’s a great acknowledgement of the Peel-Harvey region and its environmental significance.”

“The PHCC’s Restoring the Serpentine River project will benefit from the funding boost to continue and expand work with the community, the local Noongar people and local landholders to preserve and protect the Peel-Harvey estuary and surrounding landscapes for future generations.”

Quotes attributable to Greening Australia CEO Brendan Foran:

Greening Australia is 35 years old this year and we have also been in a continuous partnership with Alcoa for the entire 35 years. The Three Rivers initiative presents a renewed partnership opportunity to extend our collaboration and to improve the condition of the three major rivers in the Peel-Harvey, the Murray, Serpentine and Harvey.’

 Quotes attributable to The Nature Conservancy Australia Marine Manager Dr Chris Gillies:

“We will hold a series of public presentations and workshops with leading TNC international experts and local stakeholders to improve knowledge of the benefits and approaches to restoring marine habitats.”

“This will include the latest local and global natural restoration methods for improving fisheries, reducing nutrient runoff and protecting shorelines against sea level rise and flooding.

ENDS

Media Contact:  Jane O’Malley, Chief Executive Officer, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, Jane.Omalley@peel-harvey.org.au, (08) 6369 8800

For further information about:

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

People, Plants and ….Pancakes!

PHCC Pancake Breakfast, Planting Demonstration and Seedling Give-away at Lake Clifton

PHCC Pancake Breakfast, Planting Demonstration and Seedling Give-away at Lake Clifton

4 September 2017…In a positive step towards re-engaging the Lake Clifton and Herron community, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council (PHCC) recently hosted a planting demonstration, pancake breakfast and seedling give-away at the Lake Clifton Herron Community Hall. Over 100 local residents turned out on a cold, Sunday morning to collect seedlings, eat pancakes and to share an affinity yarn with their neighbours.

Lake Clifton and Herron are adjacent to Yalgorup National Park.  The Park is a 12,888ha area of coastal land that includes Lake Clifton, Lake Preston and several other significant freshwater and saline lakes. The Yalgorup Lakes System is part of a site listed under the international Ramsar Convention on Wetlands protecting “Wetlands of International Significance”.

The Thrombolites of Lake Clifton represent some of the earliest forms of life on earth and are thought to be over 2000 years old. The Thrombolites are protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act and are listed as critically endangered. These “living rocks” grow less than 1mm a year and are built by photosynthesising micro-organisms whose limestone emissions create the dome structure of the Thrombolites.  The health of the Thrombolites is under threat with the salinity of the lake increasing and the seedling give-away is just one of many steps towards trying to improve the health of the Lake Clifton area.

For this seedling give-away morning, the Lake Clifton and Herron community were joined by PHCC board member, Paddi Creevey, PHCC staff and volunteers along with Jenny Rose from the Lake Clifton Herron Landcare Group who was thrilled with the community’s enthusiasm and sheer number of people who weathered the wintery morning.

1700 seedlings, with tree guards, were given to community members on the day and a pancake breakfast provided the community with a warm welcome on such a cold morning. Local business owner Wayne Goring from Arboreal Tree Care made a generous contribution and provided 40 landowners with a free load of mulch to give the seedlings a greater chance of surviving.

Feedback from the day showed that the Lake Clifton/Herron community thought the event was very well planned and they appreciated the opportunity to network with their neighbours.  One participant said “Very informative.  Great to see a community come together. (It) has been wonderful”.

The attendance of over 100 residents and landowners reflects the Lake Clifton and Herron community’s widespread interest in protecting the environment and their willingness to act now for the benefit of future generations.

By reconnecting with the community and distributing seedlings, PHCC hope to share the message of the importance of protecting not only the Thrombolites but the surrounding landscape as well.

This project is supported by the PHCC through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.

ENDS

Media Contact:  Jane O’Malley, Chief Executive Officer, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, Jane.Omalley@peel-harvey.org.au, (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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