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Land for Wildlife

Land for Wildlife

Land for Wildlife is a voluntary conservation program to encourage and assist private landholders to provide habitat for wildlife on their property.

Within the SWCC Region, 1,516 properties are under Land for Wildlife covering a total of 26,364 hectares.

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Flora at risk

Flora at risk

Western Australian flora is arguably some of the most unique in the world and has fascinated wildflower enthusiasts for generations. 78 flora species are threatened (DBCA, 2018) in the SWCC Region i.e: flora species which are declared as rare or likely to become extinct under the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950.

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Vegetation cover change since 2000

Vegetation cover change since 2000

From European settlement to the year 2000 vegetation cover on the Swan Coastal Plain (the area between the ocean and the scarp) had been reduced by 80%, leaving only a small proportion remaining (35,727 ha). In the short 17 years since, a further 28.5% of remaining vegetation cover has been lost (minimum 10,172 ha).

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Vegetation fragmentation

Vegetation fragmentation

Vegetation fragmentation is caused by clearing which separates vegetation into smaller patches of vegetation.  These patches are therefore no longer continuous and are disconnected by barriers such as roads, urban development, agriculture and mining, plantations. This can isolate species and restrict the movement of flora, fauna and genetics across the landscape, making species more susceptible to pressures such as disease, and/or climate change.  Smaller more isolated patches of vegetation [and the species that relay on these patches for habitat] are less resilient to threats such as invasive weeds, pest animals, drought and high-intensity fire. As patch size decreases, so too does the resilience of flora, fauna and habitat continuity.

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Fish Kill Events

Fish Kill Events

The number of fish kill events appears to be stable between 2000 and 2017 with between zero and three events per year in rivers and estuaries across the South West NRM region. The exception to this was 2015 when six events occurred, however no events were recorded in the last two years (2016 and 2017). Many of these events were linked to poor water quality due to a number of man-made changes to rivers and their catchments including increased nutrients, clearing of riparian and catchment vegetation and reduced flushing of rivers due to installation of barriers and changes in flow.

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Wetlands of international importance

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.

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How we use water

How we use water

About 63% of the South West region’s total water use is by the agriculture sector. 14% is used in urban areas for households, commercial and parks and gardens; while heavy industry and mining make up 12% and 11% of the region’s total water use respectively.

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Effects of rainfall decline to date

Effects of rainfall decline to date

Rainfall in the south-west of Western Australia is now around 16 per cent below the long-term average. Less rainfall results in less water flowing into rivers and aquifers and to date there has been up to a 50% reduction in average run-off into rivers and streams, and up to a 30 per cent reduction in recharge of aquifers depending on the location.

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How serious is Soil Acidity?

How serious is Soil Acidity?

More than 70% of agricultural topsoils and 50% of sub-surface soils are more acidic than they should be, and such soils affect agricultural production negatively as plants are less able to take up nutrients from the soil.

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Soil nutrient management

Soil nutrient management

On average, farm soils (i.e. pasture and arable) are over fertilised. They contain 1.3 - 1.6x as much phosphorus as is required for optimal production. Reducing the amount of phosphorus to optimal levels could lead to economic benefits (reduced fertiliser costs or redirection of fertiliser costs to removing other constraints), and reducing the off-site impacts of agriculture (reduced leaching and runoff of phosphorus).

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Extent of water repellence

Extent of water repellence

Soil water repellence is the resistance of soils to wetting, sometimes to the extent that they remain dry even after significant rainfall events or irrigation.

Most of the soils (including in coastal and forest areas) in the South West NRM region are severely water repellent affecting agriculture production.

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West Coast bioregion recreational catch

West Coast bioregion recreational catch

Recreational catch of dhufish in West Coast bioregion (includes the south-west zone) was higher in 2015/16 (97-129 t) compared with 2011/12 (64-87 t) and 2013/14 (69-94 t).
Both recreation fishing and demersal fisheries are important economies in the South West NRM region.

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South West recreational fish

South West recreational fish

Top five most common finfish species taken by rec fishers in south-west in 2015/16 were school whiting (14% of total catch), Australian herring (9%), WA Dhufish (7%), Silver trevally (5%) and Snapper (4%).

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Whales

Whales

Conservation Dependent humpback, endangered blue and endangered southern right whales have shown consistent, seasonal use of important habitat in the southwest region with an apparent steady increase in humpback sightings.

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Marine Parks

Marine Parks

The South West NRM region is home to 2 of the 17 marine parks in Western Australia (including the Walpole and Nornalup Inlets Marine Park and the Ngari Capes Marine Parks) protecting scenic and biologically important areas of ocean and coastline (usually to high water mark) cover a total area of 1142 and 123,790 hectares respectively.

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Coastal vegetation loss within 1km of beach

Coastal vegetation loss within 1km of beach

The coastal zone, frequently referred to as within 1 km of the beach, is sort after for development as many of us want to live close to the beach. 60% of native vegetation in this zone has disappeared since European settlement. Coastal vegetation is important for dune stability, protecting us from storm-surges, flooding and erosion. This vegetation is also important for species that rely on it for habitat, foraging and wildlife corridors.

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Marine debris

Marine debris

Marine debris is a threat to marine life. The SWCC region has four distinctive coastal areas with differing conditions and sources affecting marine debris. The long stretches of sandy beaches between Leschenault Inlet to the Myalup desalination plant records the highest abundance of marine debris within the region. Winter storms drive offshore debris into these beaches and summertime recreational activities produce some littering.

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Mining in the South West

Mining in the South West

There are 98 active mines in SWCC Region. These are mined for the following commodities: Construction material, Energy, Industrial mineral, Specialty metal.

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Changing face of Landcare

Changing face of Landcare

Between 2000 and 2017, the number of active Landcare groups in the South West has increased from 48 to 77, while across WA, numbers have dropped from 700-800 to 465. The number of Aboriginal community groups involved in Landcare in the South West has increased from 4 to 15 between 2000 in 2017.

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Community groups

Community groups

According to community groups in the South West, there are three common threats to their legacy and continuity. Access to funding was the biggest cause for concern, with 72% citing this (including access to funding, concerns about the loss of funding and the uncertainty of future funding).

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Aboriginal heritage places

Aboriginal heritage places

The DAA on-line Heritage Inquiry System shows there are 820 Aboriginal heritage places in the South West, 251 of which are Registered Sites.

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