Local Government Stormwater Strategies

Project Title: Local Government Stormwater Strategies
Project Code: N/A
Funding Source: City of Mandurah, Shire of Murray and Shire of Waroona
Start: February
2012
End: February 2016 (subject to funding) Project Partners: DoW

The Peel-Harvey estuary and rivers support a diverse range of life, including internationally significant waterbirds and thrombolites, a life form which came into existence 350 to 650 million years ago. The wellbeing of these animals is reliant on the health of the estuary, in particular the water quality. Currently the greatest threat to water quality is nutrient enrichment, in particular increased Total Phosphorus (TP) levels. High levels of nutrients fuel frequent algal blooms that can deoxygenate the water and lead to fish kills. The Peel-Harvey estuary, and the associated Murray River and Serpentine River, have experienced periods of poor water quality attributed to high amounts of TP originating from the Peel-Harvey catchment.

In 2008, the Western Australian Government released the Peel-Harvey Water Quality Improvement Plan (WQIP), which stated that 145 tonnes of TP was entering the estuary and rivers every year and that a decrease to 76 tonnes of TP per annum was needed to achieve good water quality outcomes to protect the Peel-Harvey estuary and rivers. To achieve this requires a holistic approach that recognizes the different activities and the stakeholders’ role in implementing the actions outlined in the WQIP, to reduce nutrients.

Local government is well positioned to influence catchment activities through activities such as: planning and development, education and awareness and, through its own work managing parks and ovals and management of infrastructure such as council buildings and stormwater drainage systems.

The project’s objective is to assist local government with managing its own activities, and assisting the community, and so protect the water quality of the catchment. The project is initially working with four local government authorities: Shire of Serpentine-Jarrahdale, Shire of Murray, Shire of Waroona and Shire of Harvey.

The project is divided into a number of steps:
1. Assess the status of stormwater management, and the implementation of WSUD principles.
2. Identify the gaps, hurdles and issues preventing best practice catchment management.
3. Recommend strategies to address the above mentioned obstacles.
4. Establish an implementation matrix.

The end product is a Local Government Stormwater Strategy (LGSS) that will guide these councils. To date the assessment of all four councils has been completed and the gap analyses for the four local government authorities is near completion.

For more information please contact the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council on (08) 9583 5128 or via email at admin@peel-harvey.org.au.

(Last update Feb 2013.)

 

Filtering the Nutrient Storm (Stage 2)

Project Title: Filtering the Nutrient Storm Stage 2              Project Code: N/A
Funding Source: Caring For Our Country
Start: January 2011 End: June 2013 Project Partners: Department of Water

The Peel-Harvey Catchment Council (PHCC) has been engaged by the Department of Water (DoW) to deliver the Water Quality Improvement Plan (WQIP) Implementation Project. The Project has the working title of “Filtering the Nutrient Storm” (FNS) and its first stage has been funded by the State NRM Program (Department of Water, 2010).

This stage has been characterized by the delivery of numerous on-ground works and capacity-building activities in a 15-month timeframe, including the implementation of the ‘Lake Mealup Recovery Program’, the support to local government to progress 4 stormwater retrofits, the completion of the ‘Kentish Site Graded Banks Trial’, the implementation of two Phosphorus Retention Trials (Buchanan’s Drain and Coolup D drain) and the revegetation and protection of 23 Ha of priority riparian areas in the catchment. These targets aimed to contribute towards Management Measures 4.1.7, 4.1.11, 4.1.12 and 4.1.13 identified in the Peel-Harvey Water Quality Improvement Plan (2008) to meet phosphorus reduction targets in the Estuary.

The second stage of the project is funded by the Commonwealth through its Caring for Our Country program. The project aims to construct 2 biofilters, 6 stormwater retrofits, and the preparation of 3 subcatchment plans. In this stage the aim is to continue and expand the type of works covered in stage 1.

 

Peel-Harvey Water Quality Recovery Programme

Project Title: Peel-Harvey Water Quality Recovery Programme                                               Project Code: WQ 01
Funding Source: South West Catchments Council Regional NRM Investment Plan 2006-08 with funding provided by the Australian and Western Australian Governments.
Start: July 2006 End: December 2008 Project Partners: DoW; PHCC; DAFWA

Further information including project reports will be made available in the future.  For further detail please contact the PHCC Executive Officer on (08) 9550 4225 or via info@peel-harvey.org.au.

Murray-Serpentine Rivercare

Project Title: Peel-Harvey Rivercare Action                                             Project Code: W4-03
Funding Source: South West Catchments Council Regional NRM Investment Plan 2005-06 with funding provided by the Australian and Western Australian Governments.
Start: July 2005 End: June 2006 and on-going Project Officer: Alex Hams (Murray, Serpentine)

Rivercare Action has been a significant priority of the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council for many years; the current project is the latest iteration of the P-H Rivercare Action project that began as an NHT Priority Project in June 2003.  The original project involved three elements:

  • progressing the work of the Harvey River Restoration Taskforce by creating aquatic refugia and ecological links;
  • river action planning and implementation for the Murray River focussing on bank protection and revegetation; and
  • the extension of drainage best management practices in the Serpentine River as developed through the Dirk Brook Project which address drain stabilisation, reinstatement of ecological values, and water quality protection.

Jesse Steele and Alex Hams were appointed as Rivercare officers by the PHCC in September 2003, with Alex’s time devoted to working on the Murray and Serpentine Rivers in the North of the Peel-Harvey Catchment.

On the Serpentine River and the associated drainage system fencing and revegetation projects including riffle design and construction work has been proceeding.  Thirty two separate projects have/are being undertaken, protecting 22.65 km of river, streams and drains.  There is 20.85 km of fences constructed and 42,350 seedlings planted.  There have also been 9 stock crossings and one watering point established.  Some 45 ha of wetland will be protected.  Sampling of Dirk Brook Project is continuing to gain valuable data on BMPs for drainage and water harvesting.

This project is also associated with “Peel Waterways Foreshore Rehabilitation Project” run by the City of Mandurah, which is primarily involved in the rehabilitation of the Lower Serpentine River and some key nodes on the Peel-Harvey Estuary.

On the Murray River on the Ravenswood Sanctuary reach, a 6 km by 30 metre riparian zone has been re-established.  25,000 local native seedlings have been planted in late July 2004.  The base for a path has been created to allow access for walkers to enjoy the river without impacting upon the revegetation. Signage has been erected to highlight the work that has been done and recognise the major contributors. Since this project has started, there has been two km of bank protection through planting Sedges and Rushes and installing Baffle Boards. There has also been a further four landholder based revegetation projects completed covering a further 10ha and 4km of Murray River foreshore. Work on all of these sites is continuing with infill planting scheduled for winter 2006.

On the Upper-Murray (Hotham and Williams Rivers) three Rivercare workshops have been held in Boddington and Williams and 34 Rivercare grants have been approved with a great deal of interest in gaining access to future grants.  The grants have seen almost 70km of fencing erected; 26,000 seedlings being planted; four river crossings and two watering points with a tank and solar pump constructed.

There have also been several major achievements by the local community groups in the region with the assistance of Rivercare Officers and Departmental advice. These include the construction of the Lions Weir Fish Ladder and Williams St Crossing on the Hotham River in Boddington; and developing a River Action Plan for the Williams River between Williams and Quindanning.

The following presentation was provided at the Peel-Harvey Annual Community Forum in 2006 by the Peel-Harvey Rivercare Officers and is available for download here:

Rivercare Action ACF 2006

(please note the large file size – 5.0 Mb, downloading may take some time)

For more information, including advice on how to attain funding for a project in your area please contact Alex Hams at the Peel Waterways Centre on (08) 9550 4222 or via info@peel-harvey.org.au

Back to top

The Harvey River Restoration Taskforce

Project Title: Peel-Harvey Rivercare Action Project Code: W4-03
Funding Source: South West Catchments Council Regional NRM Investment Plan 2005-06 with funding provided by the Australian and Western Australian Governments
Start: July 2005 End: June 2006 Project Officer: Jesse Steele and Craig Perry

Who is the Harvey River Restoration Trust (HRRT)?

The Harvey River Restoration Taskforce is community owned and dedicated to restoring and protecting the Harvey River Basin’s ecology and water resources.

In supporting HRRT the Water Corporation has invested $750,000 ($150,000 per year over five years) for on-ground work

The Trust was established in 2001 under a condition of building the Harvey Dam. The Taskforce was established to use the $750,000 (the Trust) to ensure that water resources and ecological values lost or degraded through construction of the Harvey Dam, are regained through river restoration in other areas of the Basin.

Back to top

HRRT Vision

The Harvey River Basin, from the scarp to the estuary, is valued as an ecological, recreational, productive asset and is supported and maintained in terms of clean water, native fauna and flora, and sustainable ecosystems.

Back to top

Aims of the HRRT

The broad project aims of the Trust can be summarised in 4 main points:

  • Restoration
    Restoration of riparian values in areas that have little or no value, i.e. drains
  • Protection
    Protection and enhancement of natural assets under threat
  • Improving Water Quality
  • Developing Ecological Linkages

Linking waterways and Bushland Reserves

Back to top

HRRT Strategic Plan

  • Report (Link unavailable)
  • HRRT Strategic Plan_2003 and application form (Link unavailable)
  • HRRT Application Form (Link unavailable)

Back to top

What is a ‘Riparian Value’?

The Riparian Zone is the area within or around a stream or wetland. Riparian values therefore refer to the ecological values associated with streams or wetlands.

Some areas in the Harvey Catchment have poor riparian values and lack one or more of the following:

  • Fringing vegetation
  • In-stream habitat such as logs, rocks and deep pools
  • Ecological corridors between bushland and waterways

Other areas have good riparian values but need to be protected from:

  • Invasion of exotic weeds such as Blackberry or Watsonia.
  • Feral species such as Red Fin Perch or Foxes
  • Erosion and sedimentation
  • Nutrients and pollutants

Back to top

How is the Money Spent?

The spending of HRRT funds is guided by both the ‘HRRT Strategic Directions’ (2003) and by a 12 member, community panel. The panel meets once a month and includes the following community representatives:

Tony Hiscock (Chairman, Alcoa Farmlands)
Bob Pond (Department of Environment)
Steve Wilke (Water Corporation)
Kim Wilson (Crossing the Boundaries, Southern Peel Landcare Project)
Doug Perrett (Coolup LCDC)
Frank Bellairs (Harvey River LCDC)
Bill Adams (Shire of Harvey)
Mike Walmsley (Shire of Waroona)
Ellis Fielder (Community representative)
Jenny Stringer (Community representative)
John Lowe (Community representative)
Sharon Senikarawa (Community representative)

Jesse Steele and Craig Perry, the HRRT Rivercare Officers, manage the on-ground projects developed by the Taskforce and funded by the trust. Jesse and Craig are employed through the Peel Harvey Catchment Council, through funding provided by the Australian and Western Australian Governments administered by the South West Catchments Council.  The Shire of Waroona also provide significant in-kind support, hosting the officers at the Waroona Landcare Centre and providing employment and administration support.

Back to top

Community Project Funding

Funding is available to any landholder within the Harvey Catchment, check the above project map to see if you are eligible. If your property is within the ‘green zone’ then you can apply for funding to protect, rehabilitate or restore waterways. See the advertisement below for more information.

To apply you simply need to fill out an application form (Link unavailable).

Back to top

Current Projects: Harvey Townsite

River Road Restoration

Jenny Stringer and Harvey SHS students busy removing Giant Reed.
(Photo: Jesse Steele)

The Harvey River on River Road is highly degraded due to the invasion of a number of introduced weeds including Blackberry and Giant Reed (Bamboo). The degradation is a result of years of reduced water flow and general neglect. Now a group of local landholders, with the help of the HRRT and local volunteers, are making a difference.

Local Harvey residents might have noticed the burning of approximately 1 km of river between Yambellup and Third St bridges. This is Stage 1 of the project: to remove the Giant Reed.

Because Giant reed grows in large clumps removing the biomass with machinery such as brush cutters is just not practical. The method being used involves burning the biomass of the plant to make it shoot new grow. The new growth is then sprayed killing the plant. This method has been used successfully in the Ballingup and Brunswick Rivers and now looks set to be used successfully in the Harvey River.

Ongoing control of new plant growth will be required over the next 12 months, this will be completed by local land owners. It is hoped that the Giant Reed will be removed by next winter so native species can be planted.

Back to top

Gibbs Pool Weir to Homestead Rd Bridge

Harvey River downstream of Gibbs Pool Weir showing the LWD (logs) and overhanging vegetation.
(Photo: Jesse Steele)

The stretch of river between Gibbs Pool Weir and Homestead Road Bridge is an area of excellent river habitat. It contains all the elements of a healthy river ecosystem, including:

  • A changing river channel with deep pools, shallow riffle zones and large channel bars,
  • An abundance of large woody debris (LWD: large logs that provide important habitat in streams),
  • Good fringing vegetation that provides shading of the channel and therefore cool water temperatures,
  • Well-established vegetation on the channel floodplain that provides buffering from nutrients and pollutants as well as a habitat for terrestrial animals such as Bandicoots.

Unfortunately this stretch of river is under threat from weeds such as Bridal Creeper, Arum Lilies and Watsonia. Local resident Sharon Senikarawa has conducted a detailed flora and weed survey in the area, this survey has been used to develop a weed action plan.

A number of workdays are planned for this area so watch the local media for more details.

Back to top

Blackberry Mapping in the Upper Catchment
The Harvey River between the Stirling Dam and Harvey Dam presents some of the best riverine habitat found in the Harvey Catchment. This area is however under threat from Blackberry.

Blackberry is an extremely invasive weed that can infest large tracts of river foreshore very quickly. Blackberry is easily spread by birds and wild pigs so new outbreaks have to be attacked quickly.

HRRT volunteers are currently mapping blackberry outbreaks using GPS equipment and feeding this information back to land managers including Water Corporation.

Back to top

Current Projects: Shire of Waroona

Bancell Links

Fish sampling in Bancell Brook.
(Photo Kim Wilson)

In the Harvey Catchment almost all the watercourses between the Darling Scarp and the Coastal Plain are regulated by Dams to supply drinking water to Perth. Although dams are necessary they provide a barrier to fish that are migrating upstream as well as preventing organic material contained in hard leaves from reaching downstream areas. Bancell Brook is a relatively unregulated connection between the Darling Scarp and the Lower Harvey River.

The fish found in Bancell Brook include the Western Minnow, Western Pygmy Perch, Night Fish and the Spotted Minnow. None of these species grow bigger than 150mm and are generally unable to swim over barriers higher than 100mm.

Because upstream migration is an important component to the life cycle of these fish barriers to upstream movement must be removed. At present there are two major barriers namely:

  • Bancell Brook is used to supply irrigation water. Some of the concrete structures at the delivery points form barriers to movement.
  • Culverts on South West Highway. Native fish can only swim at high speeds for very short periods of time; the length of the culverts and the speed of the water flowing through the culverts forms a barrier to upstream migration.

View the Harvey River Restoration Trust Bancell Link Project» (Link unavailable)

Back to top

The HRRT currently is developing strategies to maintain fish movement through these areas. The other goals of the project include:

  • Reduction of summer water temperatures through planting of fringing vegetation.
  • To reduce the impact of feral fish such as the Mosquito Fish by providing extra habitat like logs, rocks or deeper pool areas. Mosquito fish are known to attack local species. By increasing habitat native fish are given refuge from predators, protection from the sun, as well as breeding and feeding sites.
  • The revegetation of Bancell Brook will form part of a larger ‘biodiversity belt’ which extends from Trotter Rd Reserve in the west to Bancell Rd Reserve in the east.

If you would like to read the Murdoch Fish Report from Bancell Brook you can download it via the following link (Link unavailable).

The Western Pygmy Perch
(Photo: David Morgan)
The introduced Mosquito Fish
(Photo David Morgan)

Back to top

Other Project Areas

Buller Links
This project aims to provide an ecological corridor between the Harvey River and Buller Road Nature Reserve

A corridor between the reserve and the river will improve connectivity across a range of biotypes which important to native terrestrial fauna such as Bandicoots

View Revegetation Corridors» (Link unavailable)

Back to top

Coolup-Mayfield Links
This project aims to build on extensive ‘streamlining’ (fencing and revegetation of drains) work undertaken within the Mayfield Catchment by Coolup landholders over the past 10 years.

The project will encourage completion of links between existing projects through fencing and revegetation of drains and streams.

View Coolup-Mayfield Link Project Map» (Link unavailable)

Back to top

Lower Harvey River Restoration
This project seeks to revegetate Vacant Crown Land bordering the lower Harvey River with the aim of improving habitat and stabilising river banks.

The project area includes land along the Harvey River between Bristol Road and the Harvey Estuary.

View Lower Harvey River Restoration Project Map» (Link unavailable)

Back to top

Upcoming Events

Text to come

Back to top

Contact Details

If you are interested in receiving more information or would like to be on our mailing list you can contact Jesse Steele on 089 733 3380 or 0412 426 081 or via email on rivercare@southwest.com.au

Alternatively you can write to:

Harvey River Restoration Taskforce
PO Box 20
WAROONA WA 6215

Back to top

The above is available as a bumper sticker for all who would like to assist to promote the project.

Back to top

Peel-Harvey ICLEI Water Campaign™ Project

Project Title: Local Government Water Resource Management Project Project Code: WH 01b / W1-04
Funding Source: South West Catchments Council Regional NRM Investment Plan 2005-06 with funding provided by the Australian and Western Australian Governments.  Previous funding for this project has been received from the NAP, the Peel-Development Commission through the Regional Development Scheme, the City of Mandurah, the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale and the Peel Centre for Water Excellence.
Start: Jan 2003 End: June 2008 Project Manager Sarah Molloy -Renew Environmental

Water is recognised as a vital, yet increasingly scarce resource and also a major feature not only of our natural environment, in terms of our estuaries, rivers and wetlands but also of our culture and our economy. As such, the management of water related issues is fundamentally important to our community as a whole. Many Local Governments now recognise that as large consumers of water they also have a responsibility to show leadership by providing for the needs of the community in a sustainable and efficient manner.

The International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) is an association of Local Governments who believe in striving for sustainability. In response to requests from its members, ICLEI have developed a campaign that focuses on freshwater resource management and provides a framework for local government to deal with water consumption and quality related issues; or more specifically:

  • To improve water use efficiency and practices that effect water quality;
  • To create a holistic, integrated and practical water strategy (Local Action Plan), and
  • To integrate the existing and relevant initiatives occurring within the municipality, the wider community and catchment into one over all program.

The framework for the ICLEI Water Campaign™ is based on that developed for the highly successful Cities for Climate Protection Program™, consisting of three modules, Corporate, Community and Catchment. Each module considers both water consumption and water quality issues through a series of five milestones as follows:

  • Milestone 1: Inventory of water consumption and water quality issues,
  • Milestone 2: The setting of consumption reduction and water quality goals,
  • Milestone 3: Development of a Local Action Plan (LAP),
  • Milestone 4: Implementation of the LAP,
  • Milestone 5: Evaluation and review of targets and strategies.

The Corporate Module of the campaign focuses on the Local Governments’ own facilities and operations, while the Community module concentrates on the role of Local Government in educating and influencing water efficiency and quality issues in the wider community. The Catchment module involves the local governments of a catchment working together to achieve improved water resource management.

The ICLEI Water Campaign(TM) is a voluntary capacity building program and participation requires significant human resources as well as the interest and commitment from the local governments involved.  The Local Government Water Resource Project was develop with the aim of removing one of the most significant barrier to the local governments of the South West participating in the program; available officer time.  The funding received has allowed the PHCC and other sub-regions to employ part-time Water Campaign Officers to work with each of the participating council to undertake the ‘leg-work’ involved in participating in the campaign.  These officers are locally based and work with up to three councils facilitating their involvement and also very importantly these officers help to increase communication between the Councils themselves and the local NRM groups on water related (and other NRM) matters.  The local governments still contribute significantly in regards to officer time from many different departments with the councils such as engineering, environment, parks and gardens and corporate services and the local governments themselves take on the responsibility for implementing the Local Actions Plans developed through Milestone Three of the campaign.

The PHCC implementation of the Water Campaign began January 2003 with four Councils in the Peel Region, being the City of Mandurah, and the Shires of Boddington, Serpentine-Jarrahdale and Murray. The original funding for this project was provided by the Peel-Development Commission, the City of Mandurah, the Peel Centre for Water Excellence and the Serpentine-Jarrahdale Shire. With subsequent funding from the National Heritage Trust the PHCC project was expanded to include a total of nine Local Governments of the Peel-Harvey Catchment with the addition of the Shires of Cuballing, Harvey, Wandering, Waroona and the Town of Kwinana.

In 2004 funding was received through the South West Catchment Council from the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality to again continue the project and expand further into the Southwest Region in partnership with the Leschenault, Cape to Cape and GeoCatch sub-regions.  The project has continued to be seen as a priority for the SWCC region with funding allocated from the South West Regional NRM Investment Plan 2005/06 and 2006/08.

All local governments involved with the campaign have begun progressing through the Milestone framework of the campaign and implementing appropriate water conservation and water quality improvement initiatives within their municipalities.

Current Participating Local Governments:

Local Government Catchment Milestone Achieved
Shire of Boddington Peel-Harvey Corporate and Community Milestone Three
Shire of Cuballing Peel-Harvey Corporate and Community Milestone Three
Shire of Harvey Peel-Harvey Corporate and Community Milestone One
Town of Kwinana Peel-Harvey Corporate Milestone Three and Community Milestone Two
City of Mandurah Peel-Harvey Corporate and Community Milestone Four
Shire of Serpentine-Jarrahdale Peel-Harvey Corporate and Community Milestone Three
Shire of Murray Peel-Harvey Corporate and Community Milestone Three
Shire of Wandering Peel-Harvey Corporate Milestone Four and Community Milestone Three
Shire of Waroona Peel-Harvey Corporate and Community Milestone Three
Shire of Augusta-Margaret River Cape to Cape Corporate and Community Milestone One
City of Bunbury Leschenault Corporate and Community Milestone One
Shire of Capel Geographe Corporate and Community Milestone Three

Further information can be obtained by contacting:
Sarah Molloy
Water Campaign Project Manager
Renew Environmental
Phone: 0422 888 074
Email: sarah@renewenvironmental.com.au

Back to top

Swan Coastal Plain Drainage Project

Project Title: Design and operation of coastal drainage systems                                               Project Code: WQ 01c and W6-01
Funding Source: South West Catchments Council Regional NRM Investment Plan 2005-06 and 06/08 with funding provided by the Australian and Western Australian Governments.
Start: July 2005 End: On-going Project Officers: Dr Rob Summers, Damien Postma and Jesse Steele

Download the final project outputs:

P-H Drainage Reform Executive Summary

P-H Drainage Reform Vol 1 Governance

P-H Drainage Reform Vol 2 BMPs

W6 01 Project Summary Report BMPs 200612

Mgt of Diffuse Water Quality Issues

The need to undertake a review of the current drainage design, implementation and management practices on the Swan Coastal Plain has been widely recognised and ultimately reflected as recommendation of the State Government in the State Water Strategy 2003 (Reference 6.3.4). This is required as part of an overall plan to address all sources of nutrients and sediment at their source and all potential avenues to improve water quality in all parts of the drainage system.

Resulting from the State Water Strategy recommendation the Drainage Reform Group (DRG) was formed and a Discussion Paper, White Paper and case studies were developed.

A major principle included in the DRG White Paper was the need manage drainage for multiple objectives, including water quality, an issue of critical importance in most waterways of the Swan Coastal Plain and especially in the Peel-Harvey Catchment.  The efficiency of the current drainage network to mitigate flooding through the rapid transportation of water also allows for the rapid transportation of nutrients with insufficient time for utilisation and assimilation through natural processes.  Ultimately these nutrient rich waters drain into and cause the degradation of natural waterways, many of which are considered to be nationally and internationally significant and are protected through several statutory mechanisms.

A further recommendation of the DRG is the separation of the entities responsible for the policy development, management and implementation of drainage works consistent with the principles of the COAG reforms.  The proposed management models outlined in the DRG White Paper have been well received by the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council.

Issue

The capacity to use the existing constructed drainage system to improve water quality has not been explored on the Swan Coastal Plain. Present improvements in water quality caused by the constructed drainage system whilst significant enough to be required in computer simulation models are incidental and not due to design of the system.

Problem and purpose

The drainage system is inadequately assessed and maintenance cannot be carried out to improve water quality without adequate information and planning. Previous attempts to improve the water treatment capacity have started with an accurate assessment of the capacity of the drainage system to convey water. This shows areas of restriction (choke points) and areas where capacity is in excess of water conveyancing needs. This enables the development of prioritisation where the design of in-drain works can then be allocated to areas with greatest capacity and areas of low capacity can be targeted for upgrading and maintenance. This would minimise disturbance to the drainage system. At the same time the riparian condition will need to be assessed to avoid the disturbance of areas which have developed significant ecological value.

To enable and fund the conversion of the drainage system that provides water quality improvement there needs to be an investigation into aspects of the current drainage system that provide these functions. This would include consideration of aspects such as sufficient capacity to convey water at high flows as well as providing much greater capacity to retain sediment and nutrients.

Trapezoidal drains with good hydraulic efficiency need comparison with drains which have fortuitously developed many attributes associated with good nutrient and sediment removal efficiency. This is required to assess the cost benefit of potential changes to the drainage system. As has been learnt with previous assessments that there is a substantial lag time before the disturbance associated with earthworks declines and the effectiveness of the system begins to be measured. A broader survey of sites will be required to determine general differences in water quality as a function of broad drainage characteristics, accompanied by a detailed assessment of selected sites to differentiate between specific drain characteristics that provide positive or negative water quality influences.

This information will be necessary to be included into a sub-regional drainage management plan complete with an assessment of the management practices that will need to be employed. This plan will need to be incorporated into the Water Quality Improvement Plan as part of a whole of catchment approach to water quality improvement.

Outputs from this project include a Drainage Management Plan for the Peel-Harvey Catchment and an assessment of the water quality effects of the various recommended best management practices.

Further information including project reports will be made available in the future.  For further detail please contact the PHCC Executive Officer on (08) 9550 4225 or via info@peel-harvey.org.au.

Back to top

River Restoration Training

Project Title: River Restoration Training              Project Code: W3-05
Funding Source: South West Catchments Council Regional NRM Investment Plan 2005-06 with funding provided by the Australian and Western Australian Governments.
Start: July 2005 End: June 2006 Project Officer: Alex Hams

Knowledge of River Restoration techniques within the general public is low, whilst the endeavour and momentum of those willing to conduct such activities is relatively high.  The purpose of conducting the River Restoration Training in the Peel-Harvey Catchment is to improve people’s skills in the art of river restoration and knowledge of riverine ecosystems.

Due to the varying issues, ecosystems and landscapes within the Peel-Harvey Catchment, there is a need to develop different workshops for the different river systems and farming practices in use.  There are two distinct regions to the Peel-Harvey Catchment, the lower coastal plain portion and the upper eastern agricultural zones separated by the forested central area.  The threats to the lower coastal catchment are dominated by nutrient enrichment, erosion, artificial drainage, habitat decline, stock control and recreational use pressures whilst the threats in the upper catchment are primarily salinity, erosion, habitat decline and stock control.  The intensity of agricultural production and the size of properties also bare an influence on the approach taken to river restoration.

By analysing the issues and needs of a particular area and land-use we can better address the requirements of the community members who wish to gain skills and participate in the restoration of our riverine systems.

The funding provided through this project has been used to design, develop and deliver six river restoration workshops with the aim of promoting best management practice in river restoration and to increase the knowledge and skill level of those who attend including NRM professionals and community members from the Peel-Harvey Catchment, the South West NRM Region and beyond.

The training seminars developed through this project addressed issues such as salinity, nutrient enrichment, erosion, in-stream habitat, engineering solutions, species selection, indigenous consultation, legal requirements and appropriate planning with an emphasis on practical application.  The seminars and workshops consisted of four one-day events, a five-day course held at Fairbridge Farm, delivered in partnership with the Department of Environment and a Serpentine River Paddle, where participants attended workshop from the comfort of a canoe while paddling approximately 10km along the Serpentine River.

This project has now officially concluded but further workshops will be planned by the Peel-Harvey Rivercare Officers based on the material developed.  For further information please contact the info@peel-harvey.org.au or phone (08) 9550 4227 and look out for the Events section of this website soon to be developed.

Back to top

Filtering the Nutrient Storm (Stage 1)

Project Title: Filtering the Nutrient Storm Stage 1           Project Code: N/A
Funding Source: State NRM Office
Start: January 2010 End: December 2012       Project Partners: Department of Water

The Peel-Harvey Catchment Council (PHCC) has been engaged by the Department of Water (DoW) to deliver the Water Quality Improvement Plan (WQIP) Implementation Project. The Project has the working title of “Filtering the Nutrient Storm” (FNS) and its first stage was funded by the State NRM Program (Department of Water, 2010).

The project delivered numerous on-ground works and capacity-building activities, including the implementation of the ‘Lake Mealup Recovery Program’, the support to local government to progress 4 stormwater retrofits, the completion of the ‘Kentish Site Graded Banks Trial’, the implementation of two Phosphorus Retention Trials (Buchanan’s Drain and Coolup D drain) and the revegetation and protection of 23 Ha of priority riparian areas in the catchment in partnership with the catchment’s landholders. These projects will contribute towards Management Measures 4.1.7, 4.1.11, 4.1.12 and 4.1.13 identified in the Peel-Harvey Water Quality Improvement Plan (2008) to meet phosphorus reduction targets in the Estuary.

For more information please contact the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council on (08) 9583 5128 or via email atadmin@peel-harvey.org.au.