The coastal and marine environs of the Region are one of the States greatest assets in terms of its community, cultural, economic and environmental value. The coast offers a lifestyle and tourist experience that appeals and is accessible to the majority of West Australians and its visitors.
They underpin present and future employment opportunities and provide habitat to a diverse range of flora and fauna. Stretching from Binningup to Walpole, the South West coastline includes long sandy beaches, rocky headlands, picturesque sheltered bays, high-energy surfing beaches, dense bushland areas and internationally significant estuaries and wetlands. Many of these environs are conserved within major reserves, such as D’Entrecasteaux, Leeuwin–Naturaliste and Meelup Regional Park and Leschenault Conservation Park. Our coastline has already see rapid urbanisation in coastal LGAs, and should the rates of growth from the last 15 years be sustained, it will lead to very large increases in coastal urban populations1 and, projected population growth will add further pressure on our fragile coastal and marine environment.
The coast is also a valuable resource for residential development and industry such as tourism developments, harbours, farming and professional fishing. The coastal hinterland of the Swan Coastal Plain is dominated by residential and semi-rural development and recreational purposes; while smaller communities, low-key tourism developments, agriculture and areas of undisturbed forest and heath, characterise the capes and southern coast. Tourists and other visitors are attracted to the coast by internationally acclaimed surfing breaks, sandy beaches and sheltered bays that are popular for swimming and fishing, and dramatic landscapes and shady forests that host walking trails and provide areas to enjoy the natural environment.
Banner photo: Meelup Beach, South Western Australia. Photo: Christian Fletcher
High population growth is occurring in the southwest which will lead to increased pressure on the coastal and marine environment from coastal development. Other pressures include but not limited to:
- Increased tourism and recreational,
- Sewage disposal,
- Nutrient enriched run-off,
- 4WD access,
- Climate and weather,
- Sea level change,
- Erosion and inundation regime,
- Sediment transport,
- Coastal river and estuary pollution,
- Marine debris, and
- Invasive species (aquatic).
Calls for action
- Fishers and divers can log and share their observations of any unusual or uncommon marine species at their favorite fishing and diving locations to help reveal if some marine species are shifting their range. to find out more go to Redmap Australia
- Join your local coastcare group and/or catchment group to help look after your local beach.
- Participate in one of your local beach clean-ups and contact Tangaroa Blue by visiting https://www.tangaroablue.org/about-us/get-involved.html
- Volunteer to monitor coastal and estuarine birds in your local patch with Birdlife Australia. Visit Birdlife Australia for more information.
- Become a citizen scientist to record information on whale, algae scum identification and natureblitz or find out how your observation can be integrated into national database.
- Ecotones & Associates. 2018. Environmental snapshot data GIS & data analysis. Report prepared for South West Catchments Council.
- Haigh, I. D., Eliot, M and Pattiaratchi, C. 2011. Global influences of the 18.61 year nodal cycle and 8.85 year cycle of lunar perigee on high tidal levels. Journal of Geophysical Research. 116:1-16.
- Eliot, M. 2012. Sea level variability influencing coastal flooding in the Swan River region, Western Australia. Continental Shelf Research. 33:14-28