The latest in our estuaries

Estuary forums were held across four of the Regional Estuaries Initiative catchments in October with over 205 people attending events in Albany, Denmark, Augusta and Bunbury.

Hosted by local catchment groups in partnership with the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation’s (DWER) Regional Estuaries Initiative, the forums included updates on the science of each estuary, an overview of on-ground actions to protect estuaries and an opportunity for community members to ask questions.

Below are some highlights from each of the forums:

Wilson Inlet Estuary Forum – Tuesday, 15 October 2019

With over 100 attendees, Wilson Inlet Estuary Forum was the biggest in 2019. The impact of climate change on future bar openings and water quality were a focus of the evening. One of the main take-home messages was that the decline in rainfall in the region will increase the likelihood that the sandbar will remain closed more frequently. The inlet remains healthy despite the very low rainfall and the bar closing early in 2018. The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and Wilson Inlet Catchment Committee discussed work with farmers to improve water quality through fertiliser management, stock exclusion and revegetation.

Speakers and presentation topics included:

  • Louise Duxbury, MC
  • Malcolm Robb (DWER) – Introduction to the Regional Estuaries Initiative
  • Shaun Ossinger (WICC) – On-ground work with Wilson Inlet Catchment Committee
  • David Weaver (DPIRD) – uPtake program and fertiliser management
  • Elke Reichwaldt (DWER) – Condition of Wilson Inlet and catchment
Malcolm Robb presenting at the Wilson Inlet Forum
Malcolm Robb presenting at the Wilson Inlet Forum

Oyster Harbour Estuary Forum – Wednesday, 16 October 2019

With a huge range of projects being carried out in the catchment, the Oyster Harbour Estuary Forum was a busy night of networking and presentations. Attendees found out about the Oyster Harbour Catchment Group’s on-ground work, the design and construction of the City of Albany’s Centennial Park Wetland and South Coast NRM’s work with landholders and community members along Yakamia Creek. While not involved in the Regional Estuaries Initiative, The Nature Conservancy gave an update on the development of Oyster Harbour’s artificial oyster reef and Birdlife Australia treated guests to an overview of some of the many birds found around the harbour.

Speakers and presentation topics included:

  • Malcolm Robb (DWER) – Introduction to the Regional Estuaries Initiative
  • Bruce Radys (OHCG) – MC and on-ground work with Oyster Harbour Catchment Group
  • Catherine Thomson (DWER) – Condition of Oyster Harbour and catchment
  • Natalie Reeves (South Coast NRM) – Fish Friendly Farms project
  • Austin Rogerson (City of Albany) – Centennial Park Wetland
  • Alex Hams (The Nature Conservancy) – Oyster Harbour artificial reef
  • Ann Boudin (Birdlife Australia) – Birds of Oyster Harbour

Hardy Inlet Estuary Forum – Tuesday, 22 October 2019

The Hardy Inlet Estuary Forum was held at the Augusta Hotel with stunning views looking out over the inlet. The forum had a strong focus on sustainable agriculture, with Lower Blackwood Landcare discussing its work with farmers and the Scott River Action Plan. Jo Browne from DWER provided an update on the condition of the estuary and catchment. A large amount of nutrients entering the inlet comes from Scott River which can produce problematic algal blooms around Molloy Island. DWER is using the monitoring data it collects with Lower Blackwood Landcare to target areas for on-ground actions.

Augusta-Margaret River Clean Community Energy Incorporated is also working with a local farmer to trial a new innovative dairy effluent management system.

Speakers and presentation topics included:

  • Barbara Dunnett (Lower Blackwood LCDC) – MC
  • Cassie Paxman (DWER) – Introduction to the Regional Estuaries Initiative
  • Jo Browne (DWER) – Condition of Hardy Inlet and catchment
  • Jo Wren (Lower Blackwood LCDC) – On-ground work with Lower Blackwood LCDC
  • Ian Williams (Augusta-Margaret River Clean Community Energy) – Z-filter separator trial

Leschenault Estuary Forum – Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Leschenault Estuary Forum included presentations on water quality, the soon-to-be completed living stream at Brockman Park and the story of seagrass health in the estuary. Leschenault Catchment Council discussed its work with farmers and the role the Indigenous Workabout crew plays in revegetation projects.

Speakers and presentation topics included:

  • Chris Howe (LCC) – MC
  • Cassie Paxman (DWER) – Introduction to the Regional Estuaries Initiative
  • Jo Browne (DWER) – Condition of Leschenault Estuary and catchment
  • Kieryn Kilminster (DWER) – Seagrass in Leschenault Estuary
  • Johnny Prefumo (LCC) – On-ground work with Leschenault Catchment Council
  • Brendan Oversby (Calibre on behalf of City of Bunbury) – Brockman Park Living Stream
Jo Browne presenting at the Leschenault Estuary forum