16724: Lake McLarty hydrological survey and scope of works

    Image courtesy Department of Parks and Wildlife
    Image courtesy Department of Parks and Wildlife

    This study forms the fundamental part of the Lake McLarty Hydrolology Strategy, which is a joint initiative between the Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW), the Friends of Lake McLarty (FoLM), Peel Harvey Catchment Council (PHCC) and Department of Water with advice from consultants.

    The main purpose of this strategy is to obtain a detailed understanding on the systems hydrology and geology of the wetland and catchment so that land managers together with community groups are better able to develop strategies that will prevent further degradation of the system from the long term impacts of climate change and catchment management.

    Lake McLarty is one of two freshwater lakes that make up the Peel - Yalgorup Ramsar System. It is internationally important as a habitat and refuge site for waterbirds from Japan, China, Republic of Korea among others and was included on the List of Wetlands of International Importance in 1990. It also contains good assemblages of native remnant vegetation among the Pinjarra Plain which is one of the most heavily cleared areas on the Swan Coastal Plain.

    There is a metabolic cost for birds to feed on the estuarine in excreting the excess salt so these freshwater systems are a key in their survival. With reduced water levels there is also the risk of exposing Acid Sulphate Soils if the wetland continues to dry which has the potential to be a threat to surrounding areas as acidity and metals are released causing further loss of habitat.

    Investment: $ 9 000
    In-kind contribution: $ 20 000
    Delivery organisation: Coolup Land Conservation District Committee (LCDC)
    Project duration: December 2016 - January 2018
    Location: Pinjarra

    Purpose of project

    This study will undertake steps 2 and 3 of the hydrology strategy which is to engage a consultant to undertake a comprehensive analysis of the current known information on groundwater and surface water hydrology of the lakes system. From this there may be a simple (and cost effective) engineering solution to improve surface water flow given the surrounding drainage systems. Options that have been considered include piping or draining excess surface water flows from the nearby Mealup Main Drain to supplement water levels in Lake McLarty; or undertake maintenance on the surface water drainage system in the south east corner of the Lake McLarty catchment to maximise surface water runoff. Also consolidation and analysis of current known groundwater condition to determine the impact of abstraction and local groundwater flows will be necessary to understand completely how the system is functioning and how water levels can be improved to maintain habitat for migratory waterbirds and overall maintain its wetland values. This will provide an understanding of the local Hydrology of Lake McLarty in relation to its surrounding catchment so that management actions can be implemented that will reduce the threats and maintain the values of the wetland system.

    Project partners

    Department of Parks and Wildlife

    Peel Harvey Catchment Council

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