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Kirsten Murray
(DoW) (08) 984 10120
A gold star for Collier River and Butler's Creek go to index

In early 2009 the Department of Water released the publication Foreshore assessment and management recommendations for Collier River and Butler's Creek, which was the result of recent work in the catchments. The report found that both catchments are of good health with approximately 75% of the foreshore condition of Collier River being of A grade condition and 64% of Butler's Creek also A grade. The report found that the water flowing from Collier River into the Walpole Inlet had moderate levels of nitrogen and low levels of phosphorus. Both of the levels were below the recommended guidelines set by the Australian and New Zealand Conservation Council. These are seen as very positive results.

The condition of the catchments is very important for rare species that are found in the lower catchments, such as the quenda and the endemic Walpole burrowing crayfish. To be able to confirm that the catchments are in good health is a real plus and has created base data that can be compared in the future.

As part of the project, which is funded by South Coast NRM Inc., landholders were able to apply for funding to assist them undertake projects that would protect or improve the Collier River and Butler's Creek. Although both catchments are in reasonable shape, dealing with small issues now should stop any further degradation, and implementing the management recommendations outlined in the report, such as fencing creek lines to remove stock access and increasing vegetation buffer widths, will substantially improve the condition of the waterways.

Tracy Calvert
(DoW) (08) 9841 0122
Learning the important qualities of wetlands on the south coast go to index

The Department of Water was funded through the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality to monitor over 70 representative and significant wetlands across the South Coast region. The three year project, which began in 2005, assessed the condition of the wetlands and was completed in June, 2008.

The project was initially developed in response to a lack of information for many valuable wetlands across the region, particularly those contained within private properties. The wetlands were selected to give a good distribution of sites across the region, and to try and represent as many different wetland types as possible.

The wetlands were monitored twice a year in spring and autumn to collect important baseline information that has enabled the Department of Water to build a picture about water quality for a range of significant wetlands. At each wetland a sample of water was taken for laboratory analysis of nutrients, major ions and chlorophyll levels, and on site, the salinity, temperature, pH and numbers of macro-invertebrates were measured.

The end result was a database of information that will help us gain a better understanding of the condition of these important ecosystems. Reports have been written for each wetland outlining the current state of knowledge of the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of each of the wetlands, and are available at the Department of Water office in Albany. The overall approach including a list of the lakes and their locations is included in the activities section of this site.

Mieke Bourne
(DoW) (08) 9841 0122
Living rivers project go to index

There are many amazing rivers, full of life, on the south coast of Western Australia. To find out more about their ecological values, The Department of Water has sampled 30 of them from the Thomas River east of Esperance to the Gardner River near Northcliffe in the west.

In spring 2006 and 2007, samples were taken from the rivers to assess the quality of the water and habitat as well as the presence of fish and macroinvertebrates. At each site water was collected and analysed for total nitrogen and total phosphorus to determine the nutrient levels. Other aspects of the water such as acidity, amount of dissolved oxygen in the water, salinity and temperature was also measured. Macroinvertebrates were collected using a fine mesh net and the total number of each type of macroinvertebrate was counted. Fish were collected using bait traps and a fyke net in the western rivers.

General information about each site, such as types of plants growing in and next to the water and the type of substrate (sand, rock or clay) was also recorded. All this information will be used to monitor the health of the rivers over time and help determine which systems need better protection.