One of the State’s most significant conservation areas is to remain a nature reserve, maintaining its status as a flagship for the conservation of endangered species.
Environment Minister Judy Edwards said she had determined that the category of Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve, 35km east of Albany, would not be changed to national park as had been proposed in the 1995-2005 Management Plan for the area.
Dr Edwards’ decision follows public consultation and advice from the Conservation Commission of Westerm Australia as the body responsible for management plans.
“Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve is internationally renowned as the site of the rediscovery of two presumed extinct species,” she said.
“The noisy scrub-bird was rediscovered in the reserve in 1961 - 72 years after the previous officially recorded sighting.
“Gilbert’s potoroo, a small marsupial, was rediscovered in the Mt Gardner area of the reserve in 1994. This was the first official sighting of the animal for 125 years. The population comprises fewer than 40 animals and the species is regarded as Australia’s most endangered mammal.
“Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve also provides habitat for a range of other threatened species including western bristlebirds, western whipbirds, quokkas and western ringtail possums.”
The Minister initiated a review of the proposal to change the tenure of the reserve to national park in mid-2001 because she considered the rediscoveries, the presence of an unusually large number of other threatened species and the research and management carried out to ensure their recovery, meant that Two Peoples Bay was of special significance for nature conservation.
A proposed amendment to the management plan to retain the area’s category as a nature reserve attracted 13 public submissions, all in favour of retaining the existing tenure.
“In considering the matter, the Conservation Commission strongly supported retaining the tenure of nature reserve as the most appropriate category for the area,” Dr Edwards said.
“While both national parks and nature reserves are managed to retain their high conservation values, the main difference between them is that national parks provide facilities for a higher level of visitor use.
“Two Peoples Bay attracts more than 55,000 visitors a year, a relatively high number of visitors to a nature reserve. It was this factor that led to the proposal in the management plan for the change to national park status.
“However, given the response during the public comment period and the fact that the management plan outlines strategies to manage the number of visitors, retaining the area’s status as a nature reserve will help ensure the reserve’s conservation values will continue to be the primary focus for overall management.
“The Department of Conservation and Land Management will continue to implement the strategies outlined in the Two Peoples Bay Management Plan. The primary goal of the management plan remains the conservation of threatened species.”
Two Peoples Bay gained its name because of a chance meeting between French and American mariners in 1803. The French named the area Baie de Deux Peuples.
Minister's office: 9220 5050