Ramsar Wetlands, Coastal and Nearshore To be updated 

‘During the last five or so years…some of the biological indicators of estuarine health point potentially to a gradual reversal of ecological conditions back towards the status of the Estuary that existed immediately prior to the construction of the (Dawesville Cut) channel.’ (Rogers, Hall & Valesini, 2010)

The Ramsar Wetlands, Coastal and Near-shore Subsystem, including the City of Mandurah, is the lifestyle and residential hub of the Region. Many people enjoy the natural wonders of the Peel-Harvey Estuary, Murray River, Yalgorup National Park and beaches of the Indian Ocean. The Peel Inlet and Harvey Estuary is the largest and most diverse estuarine system in the south-west of Western Australia and is part of the Peel-Yalgorup Ramsar System.

Ramsar 482 To be updated. Likely to have increased focus on the PHCC’s global relationships and greater emphasis on the declining state (less subtle). 

The Peel-Yalgorup Ramsar System is recognised as a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention. The 26 530 ha System meets multiple criteria for listing under the Convention. It supports a huge number and diversity of residential and migratory waterbirds. It provides habitat for fish breeding and nursery grounds for fish, crustacea and birds and rare living ‘rocks’ known as thrombolites. The System comprises the Peel-Harvey Estuary, the lands and lakes of Yalgorup National Park, Lake McLarty, Lake Mealup and Roberts Bay Swamp.

Eighty-six species of waterbirds have been recorded in the Peel-Yalgorup System. Thirty-five of these are international migrants. Some fly up to 24 000 kilometres every year from their breeding grounds in northern Asia to Australia where they spend our summer feeding on the mudflats and foreshores of the Estuary and surrounding wetlands.

The Peel-Yalgorup Ramsar System requires careful management as residential areas continue to grow. Buffers to the wetlands and bushlands need to be protected and recreational use of waterways and foreshores must recognise the principles of Wise Use of Wetlands (Article 3.1 of the Ramsar Convention). Boating and fishing need to be carefully managed.

Increases in salinity and reductions in groundwater flows due to bores and declining rainfall are threatening natural assets such as Lake Clifton and its ancient thrombolites. The thrombolites are listed as a critically endangered threatened ecological community for which a Recovery Plan has been prepared.

Complementing the wetlands of the Ramsar System are woodlands of tuart, WA peppermint and other vegetation types that provide habitat for a variety of terrestrial fauna. These include the western ringtail possum (Pseudocheirus occidentalis), a threatened species which had become locally extinct and has been successfully re-introduced into Yalgorup National Park and surrounding areas. 


Peel Inlet and Harvey Estuary To be updated 

Mandurah and Murray draw much from the natural beauty of the Peel-Harvey Estuary. Residents and visitors enjoy its foreshores, fishing, boating, crabbing, waterbirds and dolphins.  

‘The Estuary and its waterways have been conservatively estimated to be worth at least $361 million per annum to the Region in terms of fishing, tourism, boating and residential land values.’ (Economic Consulting Services, 2008) 

The near-collapse of the Estuary between the 1970s and 1980s due to excessive nutrient loads from the Coastal Plain catchment led the State Government to construct the Dawesville Cut (1994). Whilst the Cut flushes nutrients out of the Estuary, levels of nutrients and sediment entering the lower rivers, particularly the Serpentine River, continue to be high and algal blooms and fish kills are regular occurances 

‘The lower reaches of the Serpentine River, as an effective ecosystem, could now be described as biologically dead and perhaps not possible to save, and there are indications that the health of the lower reaches of both the Murray and Harvey Rivers are in a parlous biological state.’ (Rogers, Hall & Valesini, 2010) 

The condition and rate of decline of these environments are potentially the most significant indicator of current and future trends having an impact on the Estuary. In terms of strategic assessment and monitoring programs this environment is of critical importance. 

Solutions to the Estuary’s water quality problems are known and are achievable but require significant changes in the way that land on the Coastal Plain is developed and managed. While there are no silver bullets, broadscale amendment of soils and management of fertiliser use provide the greatest opportunities to reduce nutrient pollution entering the rivers and estuarine system (Kelsey, P et. al., 2011 and Environmental Protection Authority, 2008). 

Coastal and Nearshore Environments To be updated

Framing the Ramsar Site to the east are 83 kilometres of coastal and near-shore environments. This coastal landscape is characterised by tuart woodlands, coastal heath (primary and secondary sand dunes), and sandy beaches. Most of the Region’s coastline is protected within foreshore reserves of varying widths and the Yalgorup National Park. Development of near-coastal areas has occurred to create residential areas, recreational and boating facilities, and the Dawesville Cut. 

The Estuary and near-shore environments support a range of wildlife, including dolphins, crabs, fish and birds. Many of these species are iconic and valued by the community and visitors. Commercial fisheries centred at Mandurah and based on estuarine and marine species were valued at $4.38 million per annum in 2010 (Peel Development Commission, 2014). 


Australian Government’s National Landcare Program $4,996,221 

July 2019 – June 2023

  • 25 baseline data sets collected and/or synthesised
  • 321 communication materials published
  • 3 conferences / seminars 
  • 12 field days
  • 30 on-ground works 
  • 125 training / workshop events 
  • 160 ha access control 
  • 390 ha (initial) and 360 ha (followup) pest animal control
  • 30 ha debris removal 
  • 7 monitoring regimes established 
  • 68 days maintaining monitoring regimes 
  • 165 ha surveyed (fauna) 
  • 17 fauna surveys 
  • 1 flora survey 
  • 477 ha (initial) and 350 ha (followup) treated for weeds  
  • 19 agreements established and maintained 
  • 37 groups negotiated with 
  • 30 ha revegetated
  • 20 ha revegetated habitat maintained 
  • 77 project planning and delivery documents 
  • 16 days site preparation 
  • 50 water quality surveys 
  • 2 weed distribution surveys 
  • 32 potential sites identified  


Ramsar TAG Members:

  • Traditional Owners
  • Birdlife WA 
  • City of Mandurah 
  • Commercial Fishers 
  • Conservation Council (WA) 
  • DPLH (Planning) 
  • DPIRD (Agriculture) 
  • DPIRD (Fisheries) 
  • DBCA (Parks and Wildlife) 
  • Department of the Environment 
  • DWER (Waterways) 
  • DWER (Water Science) 
  • Dept of Transport 
  • Lake Clifton Herron Landcare Group
  • Friends of Lake McLarty 
  • Lake Mealup Preservation Society
  • Mandurah Bird Observers Group
  • MAPTO 
  • Peel Development Commission 
  • Recfishwest 
  • Shire of Harvey 
  • Shire of Murray 
  • Shire of Waroona 
  • Alcoa of Australia  


  • Science
  • Waterways
  • Community Engagement

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