Peel - Harvey Estuary

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Ocean opening Dual permanently open (natural & artificial -Dawesville Cut ,1994)
Estuary surface area 134 km²
Catchment area 9556 km²
Catchment: estuary ratio 71
Mean annual rainfall 850 mm/yr
Mean annual discharge 398 GL/year (1997-2007)
Catchment cleared 59%
Urban landuse 9%
Agricultural landuse 51%


City/town Mandurah
Population 100000
Population growth rate 3.4% pa
People per estuary area 746
Shipping trade none
Commercial fishing 11 licences
Recreation/tourism Fishing, boating, crabbing, dolphin and bird watching

The Peel Region is known for its natural beauty and opportunities for waterside living. The Ramsar-listed Peel-Harvey estuary is the largest and most diverse estuarine complex in south-western Australia. It is a key destination for tourism and recreation, particularly popular for boating, fishing and crabbing.

The Peel-Harvey estuary suffered ecological collapse in the 1970s-80s due to nutrient enrichment. This resulted in the engineering solution of the Dawesville Cut in 1994, constructed at a cost of $76 million. Unfortunately the estuary is again suffering from pressures that threaten the natural values and lifestyle of the region.

For the Peel-Harvey estuary, Healthy Estuaries WA will:

  • Fund the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council for joint delivery of on-ground actions resulting in evidence-based long term management strategies for the Peel-Harvey estuary and catchment
  • In partnership with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development , the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council and farmers, reduce the nutrient runoff from farms while supporting farm productivity
  • Work with catchment groups to restore stream function to improve water quality at priority sites
  • Trial new materials to treat soil, water and drains.

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