Draft Plans open for public comment - RGW https://rgw.dwer.wa.gov.au Fri, 15 Feb 2019 06:36:52 +0000 en-AU hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.0.3 Draft Plans open for public comment https://rgw.dwer.wa.gov.au/6250-2/ Fri, 08 Feb 2019 04:01:42 +0000 https://rgw.dwer.wa.gov.au/?p=6250 Three draft plans that will help determine how our local wetlands and waterways are managed into the future are now available for public comment. The three plans will guide future management actions to improve waterway health and water quality in the Lower Vasse River, Toby Inlet and the Vasse Wonnerup wetlands. The City of Busselton […]

The post Draft Plans open for public comment appeared first on RGW.

]]>
Three draft plans that will help determine how our local wetlands and waterways are managed into the future are now available for public comment.

The three plans will guide future management actions to improve waterway health and water quality in the Lower Vasse River, Toby Inlet and the Vasse Wonnerup wetlands.

The City of Busselton has led the development of the Lower Vasse River and Toby Inlet waterway management plans. Environment Officer Robyn Paice says the development of these plans has been a collaborative process over the past three years that has involved considerable input from the community, scientists and managers of the waterways.

“We are encouraging the community to have their say on the plans so that they can help shape the future management of these iconic water assets” said Robyn.

The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions has led development of the Vasse Wonnerup Operational Plan. Planning Officer Grace Patorniti says “Community feedback on the draft operational plan is important because it helps shape how the conservation, cultural and social values of this area of local and international importance is managed”.

The Vasse Wonnerup wetlands Collaboration group and Toby Inlet Community Advisory Group were central to the development of the plans and critical in defining the management objectives to guide future management of these locally and internationally important waterways, wetlands and estuaries.

The plans are part of the Revitalising Geographe Waterways program and have been informed by the extensive science program undertaken over the last three years.

To view and given feedback on the waterway management plans for the Lower Vasse River and Toby Inlet, visit the City of Busselton ‘Your Say’ portal https://yoursay.busselton.wa.gov.au/waterways.

To view and given feedback on the operational plan for the Vasse Wonnerup wetlands, visit the Revitalising Geographe Waterways website https://rgw.dwer.wa.gov.au/vasse-wonnerup-wetland/

Submissions for the Lower Vasse River and Toby Inlet Plans close on 27 February and the Vasse Wonnerup Plan on 22 March 2019. Submissions will be reviewed and will contribute to the development of the final plans, due for completion in June 2019.

The post Draft Plans open for public comment appeared first on RGW.

]]>
Soil testing a win for our farmers and our waterways https://rgw.dwer.wa.gov.au/soil-testing-a-win-for-our-farmers-and-our-waterways/ Wed, 23 Jan 2019 03:17:06 +0000 https://rgw.dwer.wa.gov.au/?p=6224 Local soil testing contractors will finish soil sampling across 21 farms in the Geographe catchment this week as part of a three year program that is hoped will be a win-win for both farmers and our waterways. The soil testing is part of a three year program that is helping farmers make evidence-based decisions on […]

The post Soil testing a win for our farmers and our waterways appeared first on RGW.

]]>
Local soil testing contractors will finish soil sampling across 21 farms in the Geographe catchment this week as part of a three year program that is hoped will be a win-win for both farmers and our waterways.

The soil testing is part of a three year program that is helping farmers make evidence-based decisions on their fertiliser use.

GeoCatch Project Coordinator Bree Brown says soil testing programs undertaken across the south west in recent years show that around 70% of paddocks have more phosphorus than needed to support pasture growth.

“Our program gives farmers paddock by paddock information to help them fine tune their fertiliser needs. In many cases this leads to a reduction in fertiliser use and a cost saving to the farmer, which is also great news for our waterways” said Bree.

Bree says that although pastures used for grazing may seem a long way from our rivers and wetlands, agricultural fertilisers are the major source of nutrients to waterways, where they contribute to water quality problems.

With over 46% of Geographe farms having now participated in the soil testing program over the past 10 years, farmers are now seeing firsthand the benefits of having detailed soil information for each paddock on their farm.

Yalyalup farmer David Gow says he has found the detailed information received in the program is helping him with his fertiliser decisions.

“It’s fantastic to have such thorough information for all of my paddocks, and the maps make it really easy to see what my nutrient levels are at a glance” said David.

The next stage of the program following soil testing will be workshops in February where farmers receive their results, maps, and have Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development Officers and local agronomists on hand to discuss results with farmers.

Agronomic advice given at the workshop will help farmers fine tune their fertiliser applications, potentially saving money and reducing the risk of surplus nutrients ending up in waterways.

Soil testing is just one of the ways GeoCatch and our partners are working to improve water quality in our rivers, wetlands and estuaries under the Revitalising Geographe Waterways program. For more information visit the Revitalising Geographe Waterways website www.rgw.dwer.wa.gov.au.

The post Soil testing a win for our farmers and our waterways appeared first on RGW.

]]>
New research looking at Seagrasses and Black swans https://rgw.dwer.wa.gov.au/new-research-looking-at-seagrasses-and-black-swans/ Wed, 12 Dec 2018 02:04:28 +0000 https://rgw.dwer.wa.gov.au/?p=6217 A research project is about to start on the Vasse Wonnerup wetlands looking at the relationship between seagrasses and black swan grazing. The project, being undertaken by Masters student Caitlyn O’Dea from Edith Cowan University, will be conducted across three estuaries; the Swan-Canning, Leschenault and Vasse-Wonnerup. “ This project aims to improve our understanding of […]

The post New research looking at Seagrasses and Black swans appeared first on RGW.

]]>
A research project is about to start on the Vasse Wonnerup wetlands looking at the relationship between seagrasses and black swan grazing.

The project, being undertaken by Masters student Caitlyn O’Dea from Edith Cowan University, will be conducted across three estuaries; the Swan-Canning, Leschenault and Vasse-Wonnerup.

“ This project aims to improve our understanding of the relationship between seagrasses and black swans within WA estuaries, specifically how various intensities of swan grazing pressures can influence the time it takes for seagrasses to recover” said Caitlyn.

“Another aim is to understand how this relationship may be influenced under increasing temperatures, particularly heat wave events which are expected to become more frequent and intense”.

Caitlyn will be installing swan exclusion structure at six sites within the Vasse Wonnerup wetlands this week.  The structures will be made out of garden irrigation polypipe have, and the design has been used successfully in other parts of world with no harm to wildlife.

“We needed to create structure that would exclude the swans but not cause any harm to them or other wildlife” said Caitlyn.

“By keeping the swans out of the enclosures we can measure seagrass density and recovery without swan grazing and compare these plots to other sites in the estuary”.

The project will contribute to the growing body of research on the Vasse Wonnerup wetlands over the last five years including five higher degree research projects.

“We are incredibly lucky to have the current research interest in the Vasse Wonnerup wetlands as it helps us better understand and manage this unique and special system” said Dr Kath Lynch, Project Manager of the Revitalising Geographe Waterways project.

“Caitlyn’s project is really important to understand the relationship between seagrasses and black swans” said Kath “as the Vasse Wonnerup wetlands support the largest number of breeding black swans in the state”.

Caitlyn’s project is being supervised by Associate Professor Kathryn McMahon who is a regular visitor to Busselton undertaking the annual Geographe Bay Keep Watch seagrass monitoring program, and co-supervised by Professor Paul Lavery.

For more information on this project please contact Caitlyn at caitlyn.odea@ecu.edu.au

The post New research looking at Seagrasses and Black swans appeared first on RGW.

]]>
Community on board with Vasse Estuary seawater inflow changes https://rgw.dwer.wa.gov.au/vasse-surge-barrier-demonstrated-its-importance-in-flood-protection-2-2/ Fri, 07 Dec 2018 03:04:03 +0000 https://rgw.dwer.wa.gov.au/?p=6213 https://rgw.dwer.wa.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/181207-DWER_MS_Vasse-surge-barrier-changes_final.pdf 

The post Community on board with Vasse Estuary seawater inflow changes appeared first on RGW.

]]>
https://rgw.dwer.wa.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/181207-DWER_MS_Vasse-surge-barrier-changes_final.pdf 

The post Community on board with Vasse Estuary seawater inflow changes appeared first on RGW.

]]>
Community on board with Vasse Estuary seawater inflow changes https://rgw.dwer.wa.gov.au/community-on-board-with-vasse-estuary-seawater-inflow-changes/ Fri, 07 Dec 2018 02:53:46 +0000 https://rgw.dwer.wa.gov.au/?p=6200 Changes to the management of Vasse Estuary water levels to prevent algal blooms and fish kills have gained support from the local community. More than 40 community members attended a meeting in Busselton last week about the proposed changes to improve water quality – which include opening the Wonnerup Inlet sandbar and Vasse surge barrier […]

The post Community on board with Vasse Estuary seawater inflow changes appeared first on RGW.

]]>
Changes to the management of Vasse Estuary water levels to prevent algal blooms and fish kills have gained support from the local community.

More than 40 community members attended a meeting in Busselton last week about the proposed changes to improve water quality – which include opening the Wonnerup Inlet sandbar and Vasse surge barrier gates in early December, to allow seawater into the estuary during summer months to maintain slightly higher water levels.

Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) lead scientist Linda Kalnejais said four years of seawater trials conducted with the Vasse Wonnerup Partnership and researchers had shown that introducing seawater into the estuary reduced algal blooms and improved conditions for fish.

“The trials showed that we can use seawater inflows to reduce harmful algal blooms, if we introduce seawater quickly into the Vasse Estuary channel and maintain the channel salinity levels in line with seawater,” said Dr Kalnejais.

Dr Kalnejais said the cutting-edge science supporting the new management approach included DWER’s development of a hydrodynamic model for the Vasse-Wonnerup system.  “The model allowed us to look at different ways of opening the surge barrier for a range of water levels and salinity in the estuary, to achieve the best water quality outcome,” she said.

Community members at last week’s meeting were also informed about ongoing monitoring by Murdoch University and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, of aquatic plants, macroinvertebrates, fish and water birds under changed conditions in the estuary, which has adapted ecologically to the historical management regime.

Dr Kalnejais said further monitoring would assess how making the estuary salty earlier in summer impacts the ecology of the wetlands system in the longer term.

“With reduced rainfall and river flows across the South West from climate change, we are trying to manage a unique system with competing objectives – so having the ability to review our management and science on a yearly basis is important to assess if we are getting the balance right,” said Dr Kalnejais.

The science and monitoring supporting the updated surge barrier management is an initiative of the State Government’s award-winning Revitalising Geographe Waterways project to improve water quality, waterway health and management.

For more information on Revitalising Geographe Waterways, visit www.rgw.dwer.wa.gov.au
DWER media contact – media@dwer.wa.gov.au or 0437 228 870

The post Community on board with Vasse Estuary seawater inflow changes appeared first on RGW.

]]>
Partnerships for Smarter Farming https://rgw.dwer.wa.gov.au/partnerships-for-smarter-farming/ Wed, 21 Nov 2018 03:43:04 +0000 https://rgw.dwer.wa.gov.au/?p=6194 36 fertiliser trials will be established across the South West WA over the next three years to test phosphorus requirements under local conditions and with new pasture species as part of a new Smart Farming Partnership project. The trials will explore innovative technology and practices to improve nutrient use efficiency on grazing farms in south […]

The post Partnerships for Smarter Farming appeared first on RGW.

]]>
36 fertiliser trials will be established across the South West WA over the next three years to test phosphorus requirements under local conditions and with new pasture species as part of a new Smart Farming Partnership project.

The trials will explore innovative technology and practices to improve nutrient use efficiency on grazing farms in south west WA and reduce excess nutrient runoff into waterways and estuaries.

To design the trials and improve industry and farmer confidence in evidence based fertiliser management, representatives from major fertiliser companies, dairy and beef industry groups, scientists, farmers and state government agencies met in Busselton last week.

Project Coordinator Dr Kath Lynch from the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation was impressed with the interest and support from the industry bodies represented on the technical group.

“Working with farmers and industry to improve nutrient use efficiency in grazing systems it is a win-win for both the famers and the environment” said Kath.

“Beef and dairy grazing are the largest source of nutrients entering estuaries in south west WA, so improving fertiliser management in grazing systems is a cost-effective means of improving water quality and reducing production costs to farmers”.

Garan Peirce, District Manager from CSBP  fertilisers attended the technical group meeting and said the project was a very positive initiative.

“I’m confident the project will build on current industry knowledge of efficient and effective nutrient use for the longer term benefit of farmers and the local environment” said Garan.

Also in support of the project was Ralph Papalia from Summit Fertilizers who welcomed the Smart Farming Partnership project because it allows input from all sections of industry involved in trying to improve fertiliser use efficiency in environmentally sensitive areas.

“Our company is very happy to be involved with the collaborative trials as they will help provide an up to date, scientific and economic basis for fertiliser recommendations in the WA south west grazing industries” said Ralph.

The assembled cross section of producers, industry reps, agribusiness, catchment management bodies, government research agencies and their willingness to collaborate, positions the program very well for success.

Cameron Allan, Program Manager from Meat & Livestock Australia said the participants were an excellent mix to address this multi-faceted issue requiring underpinning science, demonstrations, communication and establishing a common value proposition message from advisors and agribusiness.

“The issues being addressed by the project bridges production needs of both regional beef and dairy producers, resource management, applied research, agribusiness and information delivery” said Cameron.

Grazing fertiliser trials will be established in the Peel Harvey, Leschenault, Geographe, Hardy, Wilson and Oyster Harbour catchments in early 2019 and will run over three years.

The project is supported by the Regional Estuaries Initiative with funding from the Australian Governments National Landcare Program.

The post Partnerships for Smarter Farming appeared first on RGW.

]]>
Revitalising Geographe Waterways recognised at state awards https://rgw.dwer.wa.gov.au/revitalising-geographe-waterways-recognised-at-state-awards/ Fri, 19 Oct 2018 03:49:36 +0000 https://rgw.dwer.wa.gov.au/?p=6168 The Revitalising Geographe Waterways program has been announced as finalists in the WA Program Innovation Award for the Australian Water Association (AWA) 2018 awards. The award recognises programs that are innovative with outstanding features that set them apart from common practice, are relevant to the Australian water industry and have strong water resource benefits and […]

The post Revitalising Geographe Waterways recognised at state awards appeared first on RGW.

]]>
The Revitalising Geographe Waterways program has been announced as finalists in the WA Program Innovation Award for the Australian Water Association (AWA) 2018 awards.

The award recognises programs that are innovative with outstanding features that set them apart from common practice, are relevant to the Australian water industry and have strong water resource benefits and sustainable deign principals.

Project Manager Dr Kath Lynch from the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) said the program was recognised due to its strong collaborative frameworks and partnership approach to implementing the program.

“We were really happy to be announced as finalists” said Kath.  “We have really taken a very different approach in this program to collaborate meaningfully which has why the program is successful in both improving water quality and relationships”.

The collaboration philosophy of the program starts at the top with the interagency Vasse Taskforce who oversee the program.

“The Taskforce has been critical to the success of the program” said Kath “They have ensured a truly collaborative government approach and have created strong partnerships with  community and industry groups  which is needed if we are to make substantial  improvements in water quantity”.

The successful outcomes of the thirty projects that make up the Revitalising Geographe Waterways program are a credit to the many project delivery partners and  the support of interagency project teams and the community.

A huge success of the program has been the collaborative community, industry, farmer and science groups that have been established to support the program and improve relationships across the many players who are interested in improving the health of Geographe Waterways.

“I am really proud of the collaborative groups that have supported the program” said Kath.  “We have learnt and achieved so much more than we would have working alone and ultimately our waterways and community will benefit from this collaborative approach”.

The winners of the WA AWA awards will be announced at an awards dinner in Perth on the 26th of October.

The post Revitalising Geographe Waterways recognised at state awards appeared first on RGW.

]]>
Experiencing the world of water quality monitoring https://rgw.dwer.wa.gov.au/experiencing-the-world-of-water-quality-monitoring/ Mon, 17 Sep 2018 05:56:57 +0000 https://rgw.dwer.wa.gov.au/?p=6113 Busselton student Sebastian Taylor road tested a career in water quality monitoring and science during his work experience last week at the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER). Seb is a year 10 student at Georgiana Molloy Anglican School and is interested in doing a double degree in marine science and marine biology at […]

The post Experiencing the world of water quality monitoring appeared first on RGW.

]]>
Busselton student Sebastian Taylor road tested a career in water quality monitoring and science during his work experience last week at the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER).

Seb is a year 10 student at Georgiana Molloy Anglican School and is interested in doing a double degree in marine science and marine biology at university when he is finished school.

Seb joined the DWER monitoring team on Monday to carry out water quality monitoring in the Lower Blackwood catchment as part of the Regional Estuaries Initiative. He assisted in collecting water samples and using a probe to determine the physical parameters of water including pH, temperature and dissolved oxygen.

Samples collected are used to monitor water quality flowing from tributaries of the Blackwood River into the Hardy Inlet and to assess changes over time due to improved management practices or land use change.

“It was great fun getting out in the bush collecting the samples” said Seb.

On his second day Seb joined DWER officers at a local Geographe dairy farm to pump and filter water samples from lysimeters that have been placed under ground to collect runoff from pasture.  The monitoring is showing a major difference in water quality collected in lysimeters under normal pasture and pasture that has been underlain with a phosphorus binding soil amendment.

On Wednesday Seb hit the water and helped out with sampling in the Vasse estuary by monitoring water profiles along the channel.  DWER monitors the channel weekly for algae blooms and to support management to reduce the risk of fish kills

“It was fun going out in the boat and using the probe to monitor water quality” said Seb.

It wasn’t all fun and games though and the DWER team shared the joy of downloading data and processing samples with Seb to expose him to all aspects of the job of water quality monitoring.

Seb’s enthusiasm and easy going nature was rewarded on his final day with the team with an opportunity to take part in a sampling run on the Leschenault estuary.

“It was a great week gave me a good insight into what I hope to be doing in the future as a marine scientist” said Seb and most importantly it was “better than school”!

 

It’s World Water Monitoring Day on Tues 18 September! Visit the Geographe waterways page to find out about water quality monitoring in your local waterways.

The post Experiencing the world of water quality monitoring appeared first on RGW.

]]>
Vasse Wonnerup wetlands featured on the international stage https://rgw.dwer.wa.gov.au/vasse-wonnerup-wetlands-represented-at-the-ecsa-57-conference/ Tue, 11 Sep 2018 08:20:51 +0000 https://rgw.dwer.wa.gov.au/?p=6107 The Vasse Wonnerup wetlands were well represented at the international ECSA 57 conference in Perth last week, Changing estuaries, coasts and shelf systems. A number of presentations from Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER), Murdoch and Edith Cowan Universities highlighted the challenges and uniqueness of the wetlands. Ryan Kam, Eduardo da Silva and Alessandra […]

The post Vasse Wonnerup wetlands featured on the international stage appeared first on RGW.

]]>
The Vasse Wonnerup wetlands were well represented at the international ECSA 57 conference in Perth last week, Changing estuaries, coasts and shelf systems.

A number of presentations from Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER), Murdoch and Edith Cowan Universities highlighted the challenges and uniqueness of the wetlands.

Ryan Kam, Eduardo da Silva and Alessandra Mantovanelli from DWER presented on the two-year Vasse estuary oxygenation trial  and on the validation and application of the Vasse Wonnerup estuary hydrodynamic model.

“It was a wonderful opportunity to showcase the good work that was done to both a local and international audience” said Ryan.  “ I invested a lot of effort into the preparation, but it was well worth it”.

James Tweedley from Murdoch University presented on fish and macroinvertebrate of the wetlands and how the functional aspects of those communities changed below and above the surge barriers.  “It was great to showcase the uniqueness of the Vasse Wonnerup on an international stage and talk to other researchers working in hypersaline systems” said James.

Students Sian Glazier and Rosh McCallum presented on their PhD research looking at trophic interactions between primary producers, inverts, fish and birds (food webs) and seasonally shifting sources of carbon and nitrogen.

“The number of presentations about the Vasse Wonnerup wetlands really emphasised the volume of research happening, and how many people – professional and community alike – are truly interested in understanding the wetlands” said Rosh.   “Being able to directly discuss my findings with managers and other researchers was incredibly valuable, and highlighted  the potential broader implications of my research”.

 

The success of the Vasse Wonnerup wetlands science advisory and community collaboration groups was also highlighted at the conference in a presentation from Kath Lynch from DWER.

“There was an underlying theme at the conference about the role of science in advocacy and management” said Kath.  “It was really good to be able to present a successful model of collaboration between scientists, managers and the community”.

The  ECSA conference in Perth  provided an excellent opportunity for the great science being carried out on the Vasse Wonnerup wetlands to be shared on an international stage.  It also provided the opportunity for local scientists to learn about the great work other scientists are doing in estuaries around the world.

“There is a real benefit in attending a conference like this” said Kath.  “I learnt a lot, made some great contacts with people dealing with similar issues and importantly  and I  feel inspired and privileged to be working in our South West estuaries”.

For more information on the ECSA 57 conference see: http://www.estuarinecoastalconference.com/

 

The post Vasse Wonnerup wetlands featured on the international stage appeared first on RGW.

]]>
Working together to optimise fertiliser use https://rgw.dwer.wa.gov.au/working-together-to-optimise-fertiliser-use/ Fri, 24 Aug 2018 06:59:27 +0000 https://rgw.dwer.wa.gov.au/?p=6091   Farmer and fertiliser industry meetings were held in Busselton this week to identify ways to optimise fertiliser use and reduce nutrient loss off farms. With over 70% of nutrients entering the Vasse Wonnerup wetlands from fertiliser use from beef and dairy grazing properties, farmers and the fertiliser industry are critical partners to improve water […]

The post Working together to optimise fertiliser use appeared first on RGW.

]]>
 

Farmer and fertiliser industry meetings were held in Busselton this week to identify ways to optimise fertiliser use and reduce nutrient loss off farms.

With over 70% of nutrients entering the Vasse Wonnerup wetlands from fertiliser use from beef and dairy grazing properties, farmers and the fertiliser industry are critical partners to improve water quality.

“We met with four of our young, progressive farmers in the morning to learn more about how they make their fertiliser decisions” said Bree Brown from GeoCatch.

“The farmers are keen to maximise pasture growth, particularly in short seasons like we have seen this year, but they are also keen to make sure their fertiliser stays on farm and doesn’t end up in our waterways” said Bree.

Soil testing, weather, price of feed and fertiliser and experience were all factors the farmers used to make their fertiliser decisions.

“GeoCatch are keen to support farmers make informed fertiliser decisions by supporting them through soil testing programs” said Bree.

Twenty farmers have signed up for this year’s soil testing program which will help identify opportunities to optimise fertiliser applications. To date, the program has tested over 40,600 Ha of land in the Geographe catchment.

The afternoon meeting was held with representatives from the main fertiliser companies, Western Dairy and the peak fertiliser body Fertilizer Australia.

A major focus of the discussions were improving consistency with soil testing methodology and terminology.

“Improving consistency is critical to improving farmer confidence in soil testing results” said Jeff Kraak from Fertilizer Australia. “We need to ensure we are working to agreed standards so the whole industry is working at best practice”.

An outcome from the meeting was for Fertilizer Australia to lead the fine tuning of standards for soil sampling in pastures in South West WA.

“The member companies of Fertilizer Australia and AFSA are very aware of their environmental responsibilities and have developed the Fertcare® program to provide training and improve skills and knowledge of people working in the fertiliser industry” said Jeff.

The Fertcare program aims to ensure high quality fertiliser advice is passed onto farmers, allowing them to optimise productivity whilst minimising environmental and food safety risks.

For more information on the Fertcare program visit www.fertcare.com.au

The post Working together to optimise fertiliser use appeared first on RGW.

]]>