Peel Ramsar Lakes

Project Title: Peel Lakes Project
Project Code: CST2.PL
Funding Source: N/A
Start: N/A End: N/A Project Officers: N/A


Waterbird Monitoring and Education

Project Title: Peel-Yalgorup Waterbird Monitoring and Education Project Code: 201119
Funding Source: Coastwest
Start: October 2011
End: October 2012
Project Officers: Thelma Crook
Key Partners: City of Mandurah and Mandurah Bird Observers Group (Birdlife WA Peel branch)

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Peel-Yalgorup Ecological Character Description (ECD)

Project Title: Ecological Character Description for the Ramsar-listed Peel-Yalgorup System Project Code: WH.03c
Funding Source: Australian Government through the Coastal Catchments Initiative, Peel Development Commission; Peel Waterways Centre; Department of Environment and Conservation and the Natural Heritage Trust (NHT) and/or the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality (NAP), these are joint initiatives of the State and Australian Government, which are administered by the South West Catchments Council.
Start: July 2005 End: On – going Project Officers: Kim Wilson and Amanda Willmott

Ramsar Sponsors

The Peel-Harvey Catchment Council and the Department of Environment and Conservation have engaged Jennifer Hale Consulting to produce an Ecological Character Description for the Peel-Yalgorup System. The final document was released February 2008 to coincide with World Wetlands Day 2008.

Download the Ecological Character Description of the Peel-Yalgorup System here

Note Large file size: ~6Mb

Ecological Character

According to the Ramsar Convention:

  • Ecological character is the sum of the biological, physical, and chemical components of the wetland ecosystem, and their interactions, which maintain the wetland and its products, functions, and attributes.
  • Change in ecological character is the impairment or imbalance in any biological, physical or chemical components of the wetland ecosystem, or in their interactions, which maintain the wetland and its products, functions and attributes.
  • Products generated by wetlands include: wildlife resources; fisheries; forest resources; forage resources; agricultural resources; and water supply. These products are generated by the interactions between the biological, chemical and physical components of a wetland.
  • Functions are activities or actions that occur naturally in wetlands as a product of the interactions between the ecosystem structure and processes. Functions include flood water control; nutrient, sediment and contaminant retention; food web support; shoreline stabilization and erosion controls; storm protection; and stabilization of local climatic conditions, particularly rainfall and temperature.
  • Attributes of a wetland include biological diversity and unique cultural and heritage features. These attributes may lead to certain uses or the derivation of particular products, but they may also have intrinsic, unquantifiable importance.

The function of an ECD in Ramsar site management

This project will deliver three main outputs:

  • An ecological character description for the Peel-Yalgorup System, that follows the guidance set out in the National Framework and Guidance for Describing the Ecological Character of Australia’s Ramsar wetlands
  • Nutrient water quality objectives for the estuarine system that will help to maintain the ecological health of the wetland
  • A monitoring program for the wetland system, that will allow for the detection of changes to the ecological health of the system

Links to other resources

The Ramsar Handbook for Ecological Character Description from

For more information about the Ramsar Management Plan Project view the project information here; If you would like more information about the ECD or if you wish to be involved, please contact the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council via or by phoning (08) 6369 8800.

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Dryandra Woodland Protection

Project Title: Protecting Dryandra Woodland and Linking Priority Public and Private Remnant Vegetation Project Code: BR-03a
Funding Source: South West Catchments Council Regional NRM Investment Plan 2005-06 with funding provided by the Australian and Western Australian Governments.
Start: July 2005 End: June 2008 Project Officer: Marie Short

Dryanda Woodland is one of the largest and most diverse bush land areas in the wheatbelt area of the Peel-Harvey Catchment and lies on the boundary between the Jarrah and Avon Wheatbelt IBRA (Interim Biogrographic Regionalisation for Australia) Bioregions.  It is of major importance in maintaining ecological processes, being one of the few pockets of uncleared land that is large and varied enough to to continue to provide habitat for wheatbelt flora and fauna species.  Dryandra provides habitat and plays an important role in the maintenance of populations of rare and endangered species including: Bilbies, Burrowing Bettongs, Wurrup or Rufous Hare Wallabies, Wambenger or Red Tailed Phascogale, Numbats, Tammar Wallaby and Chuditch or Western Quoll.

Dryandra has an area of 28,000 Hectares, comprise 17 discrete blocks scattered over approximately 50km2 of fragmented areas of agricultural land.  Linkages and clusters very in size, shape and condition and on-going pressure from land clearing, grazing, weeds, disease and salinity threaten their long term viability.

Management of the remnants outside of Dryandra varies depending on the landholders, knowledge, desire and capacity to protect and manage remnant vegetation on their property.

Protecting remaining areas of remnant vegetation and the linking priority public and private remnants with corridors and clusters of biologically diverse revegetation is needed to conserve the diversity of fauna and flora that currently exist in this landscape.  Linkages and corridors provide significant benefits to isolated fragments of remnant vegetation by facilitating fauna movement and increasing habitat.

This project was initiated to improve the management of the Dryandra Woodland through the identification of important  areas of remnant vegetation (based on a ranking model and priority clusters) and increasing landholder participation in conversation activities and improved management practices by providing educational workshops and economic incentives for feral animal control, fencing and revegetation for these identified areas.

For more information please contact Marie Short, hosted at the Narrogin District Office of the Dept of Environment and Conservation, phone: (08) 9881 9238 or via email at

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Peel-Harvey Biodiversity Project

Project Title: Peel-Harvey Regional Rural Vegetation Officer Project Code: N/A
Funding Source: Natural Heritage Trust, a joint initiative of the Australian and Western Australian Governments administered by the South West Catchments Council
Start: July 2003 End: June 2004, some aspects ongoing Project Officer: Dr Peter Hick


Project Title: Biodiversity DSS Training Project Code: B5-04
Funding Source: South West Catchments Council Regional NRM Investment Plan 2005-06 with funding provided by the Australian and Western Australian Governments.
Start: July 2005 End: June 2006 Project Officer: Dr Peter Hick and Kim Wilson

In July 2003 funding was approved from the Australian Government through the National Heritage Trust to engage a regional rural vegetation officer for the Peel-Harvey Catchment. This position evolved into the Peel-Harvey Biodiversity Project and Dr Peter Hick was appointed as a consultant in November 2003 to undertake the required work.

The project was split into three phases:

  • The first to December 2003 involved contacting all the various stakeholders and agencies and making an inventory and assessment of the existing biological and physical data and information system retrieval systems residing with them.
  • The second phase to March 2004 assembled the datasets and produce target areas for analysis. Those areas were visited to validate their selection and biodiversity ranking and to seek refinement from local stakeholders.
  • The third and final stage to June 2004 was to present a final report and associated maps and data in an agreed form that permitted adoption and demonstration.

The two major outputs from the project were:

  1. a primary set of maps covering the catchment based on the Land Monitor dataset that will characterise all the remnant vegetation.
  2. the development of a conceptual model, based on the work done by others in Government, which is applied to some representative areas.

The project has produced a report on the nature and condition of biodiversity assets within the Peel-Harvey catchment (below).  The biodiversity project and this report is based on a study of Land Monitor, AgMaps and CALM GIS data sources, with field validation at about 150 sites considered to be statistically representative of most landscape positions within the three bio-regions encompassed by Peel-Harvey catchment.

Maps covering vegetation trend (1998-2004) and current relative vegetation condition have been produced and integrated with landscape position, landform and CALM threatened species locations.  These data sets are available on the P-H Biodiversity DSS Toolbox.  The final official report for the project was submitted in July 2004 but work on this project still continues through the training of PHCC and Local Government Officers in the use of the data and mapping produced by the project and through the development of web-based toolbox, updates will be provided as this work progresses.

In addition to the report a web-based toolbox has been developed that enables a menu of biodiversity attributes to be compiled for any selected area; this interactive Geographic Information System, called the Peel-Harvey Biodiversity Decision Support System Toolbox can be used for many purposes including the assessment and ranking of natural biodiversity for use by land managers within the catchment.

The second aspect of this project titled Biodiversity DSS Training provided the required funds to run a series of training courses for NRM, state government and local government officers and members of the community in the use of the P-H Biodiversity DSS Toolbox and the data gathered in the original P-H biodiversity Project and to develop the users manual for the Toolbox.  These workshops were conducted at various venues throughout the catchment in 2005 and 2006.

Biodiversity in the Peel-Harvey Catchment Report by Dr Peter Hick June 2004

Part One: Biodiversity Setting
Part Two: The Bioregions
Part Three: Field Validation and Results
Part Four: The Data Processing Model and Technical Specifications

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SCP Targeted Biodiversity Project

Project Title: Conservation of priority remnant vegetation within the Swan Coastal Plain Project Code: B2-04
Funding Source: South West Catchments Council Regional NRM Investment Plan 2005-06 with funding provided by the Australian and Western Australian Governments via the Leschenault Catchment Council.
Start: Aug 2005 End: July 2006 Project Officer: Carol Bryant

The Swan Coastal Plain (SCP) Bioregion contains a high proportion of the region’s rare and priority list flora and many Threatened Ecological Communities.  Vegetation of the SCP is under immense pressure due to land-use change and its highly fragmented nature.  The majority of significant remnants are situated within either the urban zone or agricultural land and due to their small size suffer significantly from edge effects, incremental clearing, physical disturbance and weed invasion as well as from direct grazing pressure.

The SCP Targeted Biodiversity Project aims to protect targeted areas of important remnant vegetation though an incentive program which offers financial assistance and technical advice to the managers of the identified significant remnant vegetation who are interested in maintaining, protecting and improving their biodiversity values.  The financial assistance is targeted at addressing the identified threats in each individual case but can include contributions towards fencing, weed control, revegetation and the establishing of buffers for example.

This project is linked with the Leschenault Catchment Council and in the Peel-Harvey Catchment is being managed by the Serpentine-Jarrahdale Landcare Centre.  For more information please contact Landcare SJ on (08) 9526 0012 or via

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Marine Enhancement Project

Project Title: Marine Enhancement Project Project Code: N/A
Funding Source: Peel Development Commission (RDS Funding), Peel Regional Fish Stocking Association and the then Water and Rivers Commission (now Department of Water)
Start: April 2003 End: June 2003 Project Officer: David J Lennon & Associates


The Peel-Harvey Catchment Council (PHCC) sort to investigate opportunities to enhance the fish habitat in the regions waterways, particularly in the man-made canal estates in the Peel region. To this end, the PHCC commissioned this feasibility study to provide recommendations and appropriate technical material to consider the placement of artificial habitat into nominated areas of the regions man-made waterways.

Funding for the feasibility study was provided by the Peel Development Commission, through the Regional Development Scheme, the Water and Rivers Commission and the Peel Region Fish Stocking and Management Association.

Study Approach

This study was conducted during the period from April to June 2003, and included the following: review of existing literature; two meetings with stakeholders supplemented by one-on-one meetings with developers and other relevant individuals; and above and below water inspection of potential sites.

In order to help prioritise where efforts and resources should initially be directed, each site was judged and ranked on 11 attributes. Enhancement strategies were then developed for sites ranked in the top three. These were:

  • Mandurah Ocean Marina and Hall Park Public Swim area.
  • Port Bouvard – Northport, and Port Mandurah – Mariners Cove.
  • Port Mandurah – Leeward.

Enhancement of the Peel Waterways

The initiative to investigate how the potential enhancement of the Peel Region’s man-made waterways should be considered as a ‘pilot ‘program. It is an ongoing process of deploying modules and observing results.

An enhancement program such as this is not just about enhancing the physical attributes of waterways, but also about enhancing our understanding of the local system and how it is affected by our built environment. It is this improved understanding that can then be used to ‘enhance’ future decisions on the direction of the program, management of the Peel’s waterways, as well as further coastal development and research. Environmental management plans are only as good as the information they are based upon and this program over its lifetime can contribute valuable data as well as foster greater interest and support from the community for the sustainable use of the region.

At this stage of the program, there is no objective to target the enhancement of specific species. However as experience is gained, it may then be appropriate to explore specific enhancement activities that target certain species, as well as how natural areas may be enhanced/restored or protected from wave erosion.

Methods of Enhancement

Three primary means of enhancing the constructed waterways are provided.

  1. Structural Design Changes
    Perhaps the foremost inadequacy in canal design from a biological perspective is our tendency for engineering, economic or aesthetic purposes, to construct straight lines. There are few straight lines in nature, yet our built environment has an abundance of straight lines as well as smooth faces. This limits the biological ‘attractiveness’ of the structure and could be likened to creating a level uniform meadow with only one type of grass.This can be improved in a number of ways. If the structure (eg. canal wall) is yet to be built, then the construction of an irregular block face below the waterline can add diversity and ledges that will assist colonisation by encrusting organisms. This has the added advantage of helping to dissipate wave energy (ie. boat wash). Addition of modules such as Reef Balls to the base of the wall can further enhance its biological attractiveness.An option for walls or breakwaters already constructed is the addition of rock spurs. Rocks or Reef Balls are placed in a pile just out from the toe of the rock wall; no rocks actually form a connection to the wall. This creates a node that fish can swim around and inbetween and increases the width and length of the walls ‘useable’ area. This option is recommended for Mariners Cove, Leeward, and Eastport.Incorporation of intertidal habitat is another way developments can improve their biological productivity. Examples already exist at Mariners Cove, Leeward and Eastport. There exists the potential to introduce seagrass into some canal areas, for example Northport. This can be a community project and is highly recommended.
  2. Enhancement using Reef Balls
    Reef Balls are a US invention that has now become the world’s leading artificial reef module, with over 500,000 deployed worldwide in 3,500+ projects. They are considered the best choice of module for the programs by the PHCC due to their stability, natural appearance, hollow void spaces, and effectiveness. Reef Balls can add valuable contrasting substrate to areas underneath jetties, along walls and within rock wall spurs.It is recommended that four different sizes of Reef Balls be used, and initial numbers of modules for each site varies from approximately 40 to 180. Reef Balls are made using a patented mould system and it is recommended that 11 moulds be purchased, however this can be varied to suit the final program schedule and funding.It is recommended that a non-profit organisation be established to construct and deploy the modules, and module construction could involve volunteers including school groups.
  3. Enhancement using Non-Reef Ball Concrete Modules
    There is the option of making custom modules out of concrete using balloons, buckets, sand, and other materials and some imagination. This could be something school groups could get involved in and they could then monitor their creations. This encourages students to think about what different animals require in the way of habitat, and could generate useful designs for elsewhere.

Download PHCC Marine Enhancement Project 2003

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