It’s all go with the on-ground component of PHCC’s Wetlands and People project lately, and collaboration has to be the catch-word of the month! Bulbous weeds around the wetlands have been treated and preparations are under way for much more weed control work, as well as feral animal control and management of four-wheel-drives and motor bikes in sensitive wetland areas – all made possible by collaboration with local groups and partner agencies.

Collaboration and partnership with community groups, local government authorities and other agencies is again proving to be an essential ingredient in the Wetlands and People project as more works get under way. Recent Watsonia control in Kooljerranup Nature Reserve on the south-western shores of the Harvey Estuary followed on from other work here in autumn (Djeran) this year targeting control of Cotton Bush and other weeds in collaboration with the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA). Elsewhere around the Peel-Harvey Estuary, PHCC contractors recently treated watsonia in partnership with the Shire of Murray and City of Mandurah in their conservation reserves at Jeegarnyeejip Island and Coodanup Foreshore.

Discussions with the Lake Mealup Preservation Society, a community group which owns an area of bushland and wetland at Lake Mealup has led to plans for a control program targeting foxes, cats and other feral animals across the property to be carried out concurrently with similar work on DBCA-managed nature reserves in the local area. This promises a win-win result for all parties. Lake Mealup is part of the internationally-recognised Peel-Yalgorup Ramsar wetlands (Ramsar Site 482) and is nestled among several nature reserves. Foxes move across the surrounding bushland areas and farmland, but like to breed near wetlands where nesting water birds provide easy prey to feed to their cubs and the dense vegetation provides good cover.

Down the road at Lake McLarty, another of Ramsar 482 wetlands, the Friends of Lake McLarty and DBCA have provided valuable input to inform PHCC of potential on-ground works to complement their on-going management of this well-known water bird hotspot. Feral animal control will be carried out here at the same time as at Lake Mealup, but control of the invasive weed species Bulrush (Typha orientalis) is also high on the priority list.

In the far southern reaches of Ramsar 482 near Myalup Beach, environmental weeds and vehicle damage around the shores of Lake Preston and Lake Josephine dominate the list of management issues. Addressing these problems has been complicated by the variety of land tenure and management involved with site visits revealing that Infestations of weeds including Wild Fig and Narrow-leaf Cotton Bush have spread between the reserve managed by the Shire of Harvey reserve, Yalgorup National Park (managed by DBCA) and adjoining private properties. It is also clear that damage by illegal trespass using four-wheel-drive vehicles and motorbikes involves similar cross-boundary management and must be addressed by genuine collaboration. Local property owners are typically the most knowledgeable of these issues and are able to keep a watchful eye on the situation. Our discussions with the Shire of Harvey, DBCA and private landholders are now paving the way towards meaningful on-ground to help protect this fragile wetland area.

PHCC acknowledges and thanks the Shire of Harvey, the Shire of Murray, the City of Mandurah, the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Lake Mealup Preservation Society and Friends of Lake McLarty for their input, knowledge and support with the Wetlands and People project. The project is funded by the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

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