WAMSI launches priorities for estuaries management in south west Western Australia

(l-r): WAMSI General Manager Luke Twomey and members of the WAMSI Estuaries Science Working Group: Murdoch University’s Chris Hallett, Department of Water and Environmental Regulation’s (DWER) Patrick Seares, Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attraction’s Kerry Trayler, and DWER’s Kieryn Kilminster and Catherine Thomson.
Absent: University of WA’s Matt Hipsey, WAMSI’s Linda McGowan, and Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s Robert Summers and Dan Gaughan.

A report presenting a prioritisation of the science and monitoring needs for south west estuary management has been released by the Western Australian Marine Science Institution (WAMSI).

Research and information priorities for estuary management in southwest Western Australia is the result of extensive consultation with estuary managers and researchers by the WAMSI Estuaries Science Steering Group.

The report identifies research priorities, which are both common and specific to the seven south west estuary systems.

“The purpose of this body of work is to assist researchers to focus on high impact studies, and to help plan a more strategic and collaborative approach to developing information for future management through independent peer reviewed science,” WAMSI General Manager Luke Twomey said.

Executive Director EPA Strategy and Guidance from Department of Water and Environmental Regulation Patrick Seares said the priorities should help guide the science activities that will be required to support effective policy initiatives such as the Regional Estuaries Initiative and the Swan-Canning River Protection Strategy.

“Estuaries are a vital part of our landscape both socially and economically,” Patrick said.

“As a community, we receive a wide range of benefits from estuaries – liveability of cities and towns, recreational opportunities, sacred sites, ports and harbours, bird sanctuaries, food resources, flood mitigation, and rich biological ecosystems. However, numerous pressures, associated primarily with catchment development and exacerbated by climate change, have resulted in impaired ecosystem health in several popular estuary systems.

Rivers and Estuaries Principal Scientist from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attraction, Dr Kerry Trayler, said the priorities reflected the need to respond to the increasing pressure on estuaries from Western Australia’s growing population.

“The challenge facing managers and scientists is to enable further population growth and associated economic activity in these popular areas of the state while maintaining, and in some cases revitalising, healthy estuaries as expected by communities. This report establishes the groundwork needed to consider the implications for management as we move forward,” said Kerry.