Wetlands of international importance

The South West NRM region supports 3 wetlands of International importance, listed under the Ramsar convention. Covering an area of 12,239 ha. The Vasse Wonnerup Wetlands abutting Busselton, Toolibin Lake is 40 km east of the town of Narrogin, and Muir Byenup systems is 55 km east-south-east of the town of Manjimup.  They support 80, 50 and 49 bird species respectively.

There are 66 Ramsar listed wetlands across Australia.

The type and abundance of waterbirds and key vegetation species and associations are shaped and maintained by ecological and hydrological processes that are initiated by the key drivers of rainfall (Climate) and soil type and location (Geomorphology).

Being a signatory to the Ramsar Convention, Australia has undertaken to ensure our internationally important wetlands are conserved.

The federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, protects Australia’s Ramsar wetlands by applying consistent management principles and arrangements between the Australian Government and the states.

Any activity that may have a significant impact on a Ramsar wetland goes through a rigorous environmental assessment and approvals process.

Case Studies

Data Source

  • Department of Water. 2010. Vasse Wonnerup Wetlands and Geographe Bay Water Quality Improvement Plan, Perth, WA.
  • Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, 2017, Toolibin Lake Recovery Plan 2015–35, Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Perth.
  • Farrell, C. and Cook, B. 2009. Ecological Character Description of the Muir-Byenup System Ramsar Site South-west Western Australia: Report prepared for the Department of Environment and Conservation, CENRM085. Centre of Excellence in Natural Resource Management, University of Western Australia. September 2009.
  • Gibson, N. & Keighery, G.J. 1999. Assessment of the nature conservation values of the Byenup-Muir peat swamp system, south western Australia: flora and vegetation, Unpublished report for Environment Australia prepared by Department of Conservation and Land Management.
  • McMahohn, 2006. Ecological Character Description of Toolibin Lake, Western Australia. Department of Conservation and Land Management. Perth, WA.
  • WRM (2007) Ecological Character Description for the Vasse-Wonnerup Wetlands Ramsar Site in South-west Western Australia. Unpublished report to the Department of Environment and Conservation and Geographe Catchment Council Inc. by Wetland Research & Management. September 2007.
  • Gibson, N. & Keighery, G.J. 1999. Assessment of the nature conservation values of the Byenup-Muir peat swamp system, south western Australia: flora and vegetation, Unpublished report for Environment Australia prepared by Department of Conservation and Land Management.
  • Smith, M. 2010. Hydrogeology of the Lake Muir–Unicup Catchment, Western Australia: an ecologically important area experiencing hydrologic change. Curtin University Department of Applied Geology, unpublished Doctor of Philosophy Thesis 274p.
  • Toolibin Lake Recovery Team 1994. Toolibin Lake Recovery Plan. Unpublished report prepared for the Department of Conservation and Land Management and the National Parks and Nature Conservation Authority.
  • Information sheets [example] for each Ramsar site taken from the environment.gov.au