Peel-Harvey Catchment Council escorted the Environmental Protection Authority Board on an aerial inspection of the Coastal portion of the Peel-Harvey Catchment. L-R Elizabeth Carr, Jane O’Malley, Dr Paul Vogel, Jan Star A.M, Glen McLeod, Dr Tom Hatton and Robert Harvey

2 July 2015…Gaining first-hand knowledge of the state of health of the large Peel-Harvey catchment was the goal of an aerial site inspection by members of the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) board this week.

The flight was part of a day long visit organised by the Office of the EPA, with the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council (PHCC), acting as guides. The PHCC is the community based organisation responsible for the natural resource management of the large 11, 940 km2 catchment.

PHCC Chair, Jan Star A.M. said that as part of the Strategic Assessment for the Perth and Peel Region (SAPPR), the EPA board were interested in observing the issues the catchment is facing to help inform how to manage population growth and protect the environment which is the economic base of this region.

“The flight gave them a bird’s eye view of the complexities of our waterways that cannot be appreciated from the ground,” said Jan Star. “On-ground inspections included Lake Goegrup, Austin Cove, Ravenswood, the Murray River, and the Peel Main Drain. We also visited the C-Wise facility at Nambeelup and discussed opportunities for closed loop food production. There are good opportunities for us to enable sound planning and protection of our environmental values, which underpin why we live and recreate in the Peel-Harvey, but we can’t take a business-as-usual approach. I think everyone appreciated this and hence the focus on the Peel-Harvey through the SAPPR process.”

“Science is showing us that our waterways are in a bad way. We can see some of the impacts; others are more subtle. With increased population will come increased pressures, we need to be clever about how and where we put people, and the services to support them. We were very pleased to have the opportunity to talk about the need to protect our fragile environment and focus on solutions for the future. “

Environmental Protection Authority Chairman Dr Paul Vogel said the aerial and ground tours across various sites of the Peel-Harvey area, accompanied by the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council and experts from the Department of Water, proved invaluable to the board members.

“The site visit was an opportunity to get a first-hand look at the area and provide the EPA with a better understanding of the issues and pressures facing the Peel-Harvey system,” Dr Vogel said. “The EPA found the site visit extremely useful in informing our views.”

ENDS

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

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