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    09045: Protecting the Owingup wetland system

    (L-R) Volunteers Chris Stewart, Anthony Thomson and Roslyn Burnside sampling and sorting macro-invertebrates to build an understanding of the health of the wetland. Courtesy Karlene Bain, Department of Environment and Conservation
    (L-R) Volunteers Chris Stewart, Anthony Thomson and Roslyn Burnside sampling and sorting macro-invertebrates to build an understanding of the health of the wetland. Courtesy Karlene Bain, Department of Environment and Conservation

    The Owingup wetland system is a nationally significant wetland that exhibits several uncommon features, including a well-developed lake delta, a through-flowing river and extensive areas of gelatinous suspension.

    The wetland forms important habitat for waterbird species, seven of which are protected under international migratory treaties. It is also important for a range of threatened flora and fauna species and supports the largest remaining area of mature Warren River cedar (wattle) forest.

    Dieback, weed incursion, acidification, and nutrient enrichment are affecting the health of the wetland system, resulting in loss of native species.

    This project focuses on the management of these impacts to improve the condition of the wetland. Specific activities include:

    • On-ground mapping of dieback and management of disease transmission within areas of high susceptibility.
    • Control of key weed species.
    • Fencing and revegetation of degraded areas on public and private lands associated with riparian systems feeding into the wetland.
    • Soil stabilisation and revegetation in areas where organic soils have been disturbed and acids are currently being leached into the wetland.
    • Provision of information to landholders regarding the threat of acid sulfate soils.
    • Survey and monitoring of key biodiversity values to provide benchmark data for the detection of species population trends in relation to management efforts.
    Investment: $ 165 000
    Delivery organisation: Walpole-Nornalup National Parks Association
    Project duration: October 2010 - December 2012
    Location: Owingup wetland system, 30 km west of Denmark

    Major project achievements

    • Significant dieback-free areas identified.
    • Significant dieback-free areas managed through onsite actions such as belting, signage and communication with fire managers.
    • Vegetation values within priority dieback-free areas identified.
    • Effective riparian buffer for wetland re-established to reduce nutrient and heavy metal inputs.
    • Water quality assessed to establish baselines and an indication of the effect of management actions (eg. revegetation and soil stabilisation) within the catchment.
    • Wetland health reviewed, including key indicator species, macro-invertebrates, threatened flora and threatened fauna.
    • Infestations of Blackberry, Arum lily, Dolichos and Victorian tea tree reduced and an assessment of the impact of these weeds on habitat quality for threatened species conducted.
    • Acid sulphate soils stabilised and affected sites immediately adjacent to the wetland system revegetated.
    • Land managers given a better understanding of acid sulphate soils and their impacts within the wetland through educational activities.

    Project partners

    Department of Environment and Conservation; Department of Regional Development and Lands; South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council

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