A new centre in Mandurah will encourage active community involvement in addressing waterways issues, ahead of a weekend blitz on recreational use of the waterways and boat safety.
Environment Minister Judy Edwards, who will officially open the new Peel Waterways Centre on Saturday, said the facility housed interpretative material on community and Government initiatives to improve the environmental health of the Peel-Harvey waterway.
“The Peel region is one of the fastest growing areas in Australia,” Dr Edwards said.
"The waterway is an internationally recognised wetland, home to abundant wildlife and is an important and popular base for migratory waterbirds.
“However, the area’s sheltered waters are also popular for boating, fishing and crabbing and as population density rises and the recreational use increases, this important waterway continues to experience signs of stress, as evident through algal blooms, fish kills and other signs of poor health.
“Catchment land uses, both urban and rural, are generating an excess load of nutrients, which enable regular algal blooms to occur.
“In addition, acid sulphate soils contribute to water quality decline.
Foreshore and riverbank degradation also can reduce the systems’ ability to withstand water quality decline.
“So it is more important than ever for the Government and the community to work together to ensure sustainability of this important asset for the future.”
The Minister said the new centre would provide a base for the Department of Environment’s waterways program, and would enable improved opportunities to work with community-based committees, such as the Peel Harvey Catchment Council and the Peel Inlet Management Council.
“The centre is supported by a four-year commitment of $350,000 each year from the State Government, which provides for two new waterways positions in the region, as well as accommodation and project support,” she said.
“It will also provide a base for the implementation of the draft State Algal Management Strategy that will include the preparation and implementation of a comprehensive nutrient reduction plan for the Peel-Harvey.”
Dr Edwards said that in addition to raising awareness of environmental issues, there also was a need to highlight the importance of safe boating and navigation regulation, and fish size and catch limits to ensure sustainable fishery and long-term recreational enjoyment of the Peel waterways.
“An intensive joint agency ‘Spring Blitz’ will take place this weekend to send a clear message to the community of the increased enforcement profile over the coming summer period,” she said.
“Patrol vessels from the Departments of Environment and Fisheries, as well as the Water Police, will have a presence on the lower Murray and Serpentine Rivers this weekend.
“The Spring Blitz will focus on boat safety and on reducing boat-wash on waterways to minimise impacts on the fragile foreshore zone.”
Minister's office - 9220 5050