Community feedback welcomed to protect the Wilson Inlet

Denmark community members are being encouraged to have their say, in a new online survey, about what environmental, recreational and economic estuary values matter most to them as part of a new plan to protect the Wilson Inlet.

Led by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) and Wilson Inlet Catchment Committee (WICC), the Water Quality Improvement Plan (WQI Plan) will highlight the on-ground actions needed to reduce nutrients in the inlet and protect community and environmental values.

DWER’s Aquatic Science Manager, Malcolm Robb, said that while Wilson Inlet is currently in good condition it needs ongoing action to keep it this way.

“We know how much the Denmark community cares about the Wilson Inlet and we want locals to have their say on our online survey,” Mr Robb said.

 “Nutrients like phosphorous and nitrogen, entering from the catchment, can have the biggest impact on the health of the inlet.Nutrients can fuel excessive growth of algae, tipping the balance of the ecosystem. They also fuel the growth of the seagrass Ruppia and, while this is preferable to algae, locals know that the seagrass can cause an unpleasant smell and make boating on the inlet difficult.”

The WQI Plan will use scientific research and evaluation drawn from monitoring data, modelling of nutrient sources and community consultation.

“Estuaries are very complex systems and we’ll be using knowledge built over the last two decades to identify which actions should be prioritised. But it’s also imperative that we capture community knowledge and identify what matters most to the local area,” Mr Robb said.

While the WQI Plan is the next step in protecting the health of the Wilson Inlet it is only the latest in a series of sustained efforts to look after the inlet.

The Wilson Inlet Management Strategy 2013-2023 has been guiding actions to reduce nutrients entering the inlet for the last seven years. The strategy was reviewed by WICC in February, with input from DWER and stakeholders including the Denmark Shire, the City of Albany, the Water Corporation, the Shire of Plantagenet, the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and Green Skills.

The survey can be found here.

This project is supported by the State Government’s Royalties for Regions program.