The Living Wetlands and Swan Canning River Recovery programs enhance and maintain the ecological health of Ramsar and nationally important wetlands in the Swan region.
The two projects ‘Protecting threatened ecological communities, endangered flora and fauna, and Ramsar values of Forresdale Lake’ and ‘Protecting and enhancing the biodiversity of Booragoon Lake’, funded under Perth NRM’s Living Wetlands program and managed by SERCUL, have both focused on weed control, mapping and monitoring over the last year.
Weed mapping and monitoring of Typha orientalis at Forrestdale Lake Ramsar site commenced once winter rains subsided, with the information used to determine and demonstrate the location and areas for subsequent typha control. Typha invasion of the open water and mud-flat habitat is identified as a key threatening process, and its treatment a priority management action. Mapping was collected using aerial imagery and ground-truthing.
Forrestdale Lake is a large, shallow freshwater lake on the eastern Swan Coastal Plain and the lake provides habitat for 27 migratory birds. 12 hectares of treatment to control Typha orientalis at Forrestdale Lake has been completed, as recommended, to support the continued presence of many EPBC Act listed migratory species that rely on these threatened habitats.
‘Protecting and enhancing the biodiversity of Booragoon Lake’ underwent follow up treatment over the last year from the 13.5 hectare control of Brazilian Pepper tree in the year prior. Booragoon Lake is a public space and conservation category wetland, with some Carnaby’s cockatoo habitat in fringing vegetation.
Brazilian Pepper is a high-impact weed in wetlands of the Swan Coastal Plain where it rapidly invades intact vegetation, forms an impenetrable monoculture and destroys natural habitats and ecosystems. The short seed-bank life of the Brazilian Pepper gives the project a high chance of successfully eradicating the weed from Booragoon Lake, or reducing numbers to the extent that local volunteers can complete the task.
2017 saw the Swan-Canning River Recovery Programme (SCRR), a $1 million investment from the National Landcare Program over two and a half years, come to its conclusion. The Swan Canning River Recovery project has provided crucial ecological connectivity and ecosystem services, working with community groups and volunteers at 9 priority remnant riparian vegetation sites in the middle Swan and middle Canning Rivers.
Initial and follow up weed treatment activities targeting 61 priority environmental weed species were delivered over 307.5 hectares over the project’s life. Weed treatment includes 21 hectares of intensively managed Hydrocotyle ranunculoides, a serious aquatic and environmental weed and the focus of a regional eradication plan.
Weed treatment targeted and reduced the threat to any adjacent intact riparian habitats, improved the condition and resilience of these natural assets, and encouraged natural regeneration and prepared for subsequent revegetation works.
Revegetation activities were undertaken at 9 project sites, with 156,023 seedlings of locally occurring species being planted over 10.4 hectares. The revegetation works will increase the extent of the riparian habitat and improve ecological resilience and connectivity at a regional scale. 1,796 volunteers participated in 52 landcare events throughout the project. The SCRR program was guided by the participation of members of the community in the Hydrocotyle Working Group and Steering Committee.
The project was very effective in improving community awareness of the behavioral changes needed to reduce nutrient loads entering the Swan-Canning River system. The Home River Ocean campaign had over 1,320,000 views through social media, was exposed to 2,275,000 readers and 720,000 listeners through newspaper and radio, viewed over 50,000 times on YouTube and read about in Perth NRM Newsletters by over 13,500 people. There was also over 103,200 pieces of material given out over the life of the campaign, including permanent bin stickers and lawn signs.
The Hon Josh Frydenberg MP, Minister for Environment and Energy and Mr Steve Irons MP, Federal Member for Swan, recently joined Perth NRM and local community members, to announce a further $1m, over three years, for the Swan Canning River Recovery project.