winter 2016



winter 2016

Weedy Seadragon

Image courtesy: Richard Wylie

winter 2016 l page 2

What’s in the Winter edition...

p 3 p 4 p 5 p 6 p 7

p 8 p 9 p 10

From my


Putting the

CAP on coastal


This trailer’s

out of the park


cleanest beach


Fairy Terns

– a communitybased


to a threatened

coastal species




secrets to coral


in Western



seabed survey

expected to

reveal new




Cleans Up this


p 11 p 12 p 12

p 13 p 14 p 15

p 16




protecting Perth’s


Preston Beach

dune restoration


Peron Naturaliste



at Australian

Coastal Awards



Walk Trail project

secures grant

Coast to Coast

Conference 2016

The world is your


The Kimberley

- understanding

the growth of

seagrass and



Mixed coral assemblage of

spawning and brooding corals

- Photo James Gilmour

Want to send in an article?

Click here...

winter 2016 l page 3


Helping communities

to care for the WA Coast

Coastlines is produced quarterly and is

distributed to communities all over the State. It

aims to bring coastal planning and management

groups, throughout Western Australia, closer

together, by informing them about what events,

activities and projects are underway or have

occurred around our coast. Coastlines also

provides information on the Coastwest program

to interested West Australians.

Coastwest is a State Government initiative

undertaken by the Western Australian Planning

Commission (WAPC) and the Department of

Planning (DoP). Coastwest aims to provide

opportunities for Western Australians to learn

about, conserve and protect our coast. The

quarterly publication of the Coastlines magazine

is one component of the Coastwest program.

Christopher Lukes

Coastal Zone Management Coordinator

Department of Planning

phone: (08) 655 19000

fax: (08) 655 19001

From my deckchair


Shake off those winter blues! Relish the change of the seasons. “What good is

the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?” wrote

American author, John Steinbeck.

Okay, I won’t go on with what many will consider a rationalisation. But even here

in Western Australia, winter is important and busy and not just for retailers selling

hats and scarves. I have recently been looking at lots of photographs of coastal

plantings undertaken by keen schoolchildren, volunteers and others. Coastlines

will consider publishing your photograph of your winter activities in our spring

edition due later in the year. Simply send one photograph with a caption and we

will choose from the best.

Now for this edition which yet again demonstrates a broad variety of work

going on along the State’s coast. Use the interactive features that allow you to

read page by page or to go directly to an article from the contents page, and

remember that you can also click to enlarge selected images throughout the


Looking to the future, it is hoped that the successful Coastwest and Coastal

Management Plan Assistance Program projects for 2016/17 will be announced

by the Minister for Planning in July 2016.

As always we thank everyone who has contributed to this edition. We look

forward to contributions to our future editions and details on how to submit are

shown on page 17.

Stay warm!

winter 2016 l page 4


Putting the CAP on coastal impacts!

Rising sea levels could not wash away the voices of

Geraldton as more than 50 community members

attended the Coastal Adaptation Planning (CAP)

information forum at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre

last month.

The Northern Agricultural Catchments Council

(NACC), in partnership with the City of Greater

Geraldton, Coastwest Grants program and

Midwest Ports Authority hosted the forum to

provide information on developing effective

strategies to address coastal impacts such as

erosion and flooding caused by rising sea levels

and increasing storm intensity.

Speakers included City of Greater Geraldton

Mike Dufour, Department of Planning Senior

Planning Officer Ben Bassett, M P Rogers &

Associates’ Clint Doak and NACC’s Coastal and

Marine Project Coordinator Dr Mic Payne.

NACC’s Aboriginal Liaison Officer Bianca

McNeair spoke on behalf of Donna Ronan

(Minangu) about the Aboriginal connection to

coast and all were welcomed to country by

Amangu Elder Robert Ronan.

Mike Dufour said part of the coastal hazard risk

management and adaptation planning process

was to liaise with the community to make sure

the right decisions were being made, and the

City planned to set the scene for the next few

years with a variety of community workshops.

“It was great to see so many members of

the Geraldton community attend the CAP

information forum,” said NACC Coastal and

Marine Project Officer Vanessa McGuiness.

“The forum provided knowledge and resources

regarding the coastal hazards affecting the

community and the ongoing planning process

within the local area.”

At the end of the forum Dr Mic Payne promoted

the creation of a Geraldton-wide Coastcare

group, with support from NACC, connecting

a larger network of Coastcarers to develop

significant projects in the region that address

some of Geraldton’s coastal issues.

For more information regarding these projects

please contact Dr Mic Payne on 9938 0123 or


1 2


[1] Erosion at play along Sunset beach, Geraldton.

[2] Ben Bassett from the Department of Planning

speaking at the CAP information forum.

[3] Damage caused by erosion at St Gorges beach,



winter 2016 l page 5




out of

the park

Mick Kelly (DoF) handing over the trailers to Dr Mic Payne (NACC)

Northern Agricultural Catchments Council

(NACC) will be rollin’ ’round the region in style

from now on – thanks to a donation of two

’environmental awareness’ trailers from the

Department of Fisheries.

The recycled trailers will add a new capacity

to NACC’s education activities at schools

and community events across the Northern

Agricultural Region, and help to further

encourage community action in protecting the

local environment – in a new and exciting way.

“NACC will now be able to take purposebuilt

displays and resource material across

the region, and help further our mission to

Catalyse Community Conservation,” said NACC

Biodiversity Program Coordinator Dr Jessica


“NACC’s coastal and marine program has

already started to create a number of interactive

displays on local environmental subjects – such

as the importance of dune restoration, coastal

and marine food webs, and photo monitoring,

as well as iScope activities to identify macro

and microscopic flora and fauna,” said NACC

Coastal and Marine Project Officer Vanessa


However, it is not all about the coast explained

Ms McGuiness. NACC’s sustainable agriculture,

biodiversity, and Aboriginal participation

programs are also planning to make maximum

use of the trailers.

NACC also plans to use the trailers to help

promote important community programs run

through the Department of Fisheries, such as

their ‘Send Us Your Skeletons’ and ‘Redmap’.

In the coming months, be sure to keep an eye

out for the ‘new’ NACC trailers at community

events across the region.

For more information, please contact NACC on

99380100 or email

winter 2016 l page 6






Keep Australia Beautiful (WA) judges have recently

visited two state finalists in this year’s Australian

Clean Beaches Awards. Remarkably, both were

in Port Hedland: Pretty Pool Beach and Cemetery


Pretty Pool Beach is located 10 kilometres east of

the Port Hedland Post Office. It has a sandy creek

mouth (Pretty Pool Creek) and a 900 metre stretch

of beach. Pretty Pool is used by many different

people of all ages for fishing, swimming, horse

riding, remote dinner experiences/tourism and is a

significant site for Flatback turtle nesting.

Nearby Cemetery Beach is located 6 kilometres east

of the Port Hedland Post Office, directly behind the

Town of Port Hedland Civic Centre and Gratwick

Aquatic Centre. Cemetery Beach is a 700 metre

stretch of beach which is frequented by people of all

ages for fishing, kite surfing, beach cricket, school

excursions, monitoring turtle nesting and turtle

nesting tours.

manner to help educate and raise awareness of

the need to keep dogs restrained and to provide

information on ways that people can contribute to

sea turtle conservation.

Volunteers also take beach goers on guided tours

showing turtle tracks and nesting areas where

hatchlings may emerge. Each beach-goer is

welcomed and told about the turtle nesting spectacle

and given a free postcard, as well as a copy of the

code of conduct for interacting with adult turtles and

hatchlings. This builds awareness and ownership

of what the local beaches have to offer. It is also a

good way new people to town can be welcomed and

informed of the significance of the local Hedland

environment, in particular Flatback turtle nesting.

Port and South Hedland has a population of 18,000

people and more than 72 different nationalities

proudly call Hedland home. Approximately 14 per

cent of the community identifies as Aboriginal or

Torres Strait Islander descent.


Judges accorded Cemetery Beach the honour of

representing WA in the Australian Clean Beaches

awards to be held in Frankston, Victoria on 17

November. Judging was a difficult task.

Through the Care For Hedland Environmental

Association, members of the community are involved

in strategies to improve and maintain both beaches.

Local turtle monitoring program volunteers walk

the beaches from October to March each morning

and they also collect litter and any other debris that

washes ashore year-round.

The Dogs on Leashes local government law is a

turtle protection measure that is in effect from

October to April. Often local environment group

volunteers approach dog walkers in a friendly

Beach clean ups and dune rehabilitation planting

sessions are held to tie in with WA Beaches

Clean Up.

For more information about Care For Hedland, please

visit their website at

Or for information about Keep Australia Beautiful’s

Clean Beaches Awards, please visit


[1] Litter prevention and waste management at

Pretty Pool. Photo by Care for Hedland

[2] Environmental sustainability mark and recapture

program. Photo by Care for Hedland.

winter 2016 l page 7


Fairy tern. Photo by Cherilyn Corker

For more information please visit

or contact Dr Nic Dunlop on 08) 9420 7266 or



Fairy Terns – a


response to a

threatened coastal


The Fairy Tern is currently listed as threatened

(vulnerable) under the Environmental Protection

Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act)

and vulnerable under the Western Australian

Wildlife Conservation Act 1950.

This diminutive seabird breeds in colonies on

sandy shorelines — a habit which exposes

nesting birds to people on beaches, off-road

vehicles, domestic dogs, feral and commensal

native predators, storms, rising sea-levels,

coastal development, declining water quality,

and fishing, to name a few.

The species is heavily impacted by human

activities along the coast and on our offshore

islands according to project co-ordinator, Dr Nic

Dunlop of Conservation Council of WA (CCWA).

“Without our intervention the Fairy Tern will

cease to persist as a breeding species in

populated areas,” Dr Dunlop said.

“Their susceptibility to a kaleidoscope of coastal

impacts makes them a potential flagship

species for assessing the effectiveness of

coastal environmental management.

“We need to take steps to accommodate the

needs of local Fairy Tern populations before we

lose them.”

The South West Fairy Tern Project was initiated

by the Conservation Council in 2014 to support

the recovery of the Australian Fairy Tern, with

the emphasis on the migratory sub-population

that inhabits the region from Shark Bay to the

Recherche Archipelago between September

and May.

The project has two components. The first is

a cohort banding project conducted by the

CCWA Citizen Science Program (www.ccwa.

designed to improve the current understanding

of population size and structure. The second is

a capacity-building project designed to improve

surveillance and decision-making to protect

colonies and to provide secure breeding sites

for Fairy Terns along the coast.

A capacity-building project funded by State

Natural Resource Management and supported

by the Northern Agricultural Catchment Council

was conducted through the 2015/16 breeding

season. A series of regional workshops

were utilised to develop four sub-regional

interim management strategies and to bring

together a combined community and manager

conservation network to conduct surveillance

and help with implementation.

A Fairy Tern Conservation Guide was developed

for the workshops and is now available at, as are four sub-regional

interim conservation strategies for the Mid-

West coastal region, Abrolhos Islands, Franklin

District and South-West coastal region.

CCWA is now working towards establishing a

dedicated network specifically oriented around

Fairy Tern research and conservation action in

the South-West region. An appropriate social

media platform will be developed to coordinate

the surveillance program, management action

and the citizen-science project.

winter 2016 l page 8



information unlocks

secrets to coral

reproduction in

Western Australia

1 2

The release of data records within confidential

reports has given researchers rare access to

information that is providing a new insight into the

unique reproductive cycles for the remote coral

reefs along Western Australia’s (WA’s) coastline.

While the rapid industrial expansion through

regions of WA in the last decade has seen

an increase in the number of studies of coral

reproduction, access to data within confidential

reports to industry and government has only now

unlocked information relating to tens of thousands

of corals and hundreds of species, from over a

dozen reefs spanning 20 degrees of latitude.

Project leader Dr James Gilmour from the

Australian Institute of Marine Science, along with

CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Researchers

found that the results from the Western Australian

Marine Science Institution project carry important

management implications.

“Environmental managers aim to minimise

human impacts during significant periods of larval

production and recruitment on reefs, but doing so

requires knowledge of the modes and timing of

coral reproduction,” Dr Gilmour said. “From these

data we were able to identify broad latitudinal

patterns, but many gaps in knowledge remain

due to paucity of data, biased sampling, issues

with methodology and the profound difficulty in

distinguishing coral species.”

Because of WA’s phenomenal diversity of

habitats and coral communities, and wide range

in reef-level patterns of coral reproduction, the

examination of patterns of reproduction has been

divided among six regions from Rottnest and

southwest WA to the Kimberley.

Among these regions, the diversity of coral was

found to decrease with increasing latitude, with

the Houtman Abrolhos Islands having the highest

latitude coral reefs in Western Australia.

The study found that mass spawning during

autumn occurred on all tropical and sub-tropical

reefs. A smaller, multi-specific spawning during

spring decreased from approximately one quarter

of corals on the Kimberley Oceanic reefs to little

participation at Ningaloo.

Within these seasons, spawning was concentrated

in March and/or April, and October and/or

November, depending on the timing of the full

moon. The timing of the full moon was critical to

determining the month of spawning within these

seasons, and whether spawning was ‘split’ over

two consecutive months.

Most studies were found to have focused on

species of Acropora, which include some of

the major corals responsible for building the

complexity that supports reef diversity. However,

other reefs are dominated by non-Acropora

corals, for which far less is known about their


“Most studies of coral reproduction in WA have

been conducted over a few months at several

reefs, of which there are few published accounts,

leaving large gaps in knowledge,” Dr Gilmour said.

“The gaps are significant because the existing

data illustrate just how unique the patterns of

reproduction displayed by WA coral communities

are and the extent to which they vary among

habitats and regions.”

For more information please contact

James Gilmour on (08) 6369 4055



[1]: Coral Spawning. Photo by James Gilmour

[2]: Mixed coral assemblage of spawning and

brooding corals. Photo by James Gilmour

winter 2016 l page 9


Kimberley seabed survey

expected to reveal new species

The seabed sled comes aboard with a sample

including sponges, algal covered rocks and sea

whips - Image: Andrew Heyward

Scientists on a mission to better understand the

ecological biodiversity that thrives on the ocean

floor in Australia’s remote northwest recently

returned from the fourth of five field trips, this

time to uncover what lives in the area of the

proposed North Kimberley Marine Park.

Dr Andrew Heyward, from the Australian

Institute for Marine Science (AIMS), leads

the Western Australian Marine Science

Institution’s Benthic Biodiversity project and

provided this update

The Western Australian Marine Science

Institution (WAMSI) Kimberley project continued

to expand its seabed survey area, extending

to waters of the far north in a recent voyage.

The areas studied used multibeam acoustics

to map depth and geomorphology, while the

biota growing on the seabed was studied using

towed cameras and, in representative areas a

small sled was deployed to collect samples for

the biota.

As with other regions surveyed by ship, a high

number of species were observed and it is

expected many will be new to science.

The sea life encountered, while somewhat

different from place to place, was very similar in

terms of ecosystem function.

The ship-based research spent most of the

time in navigable waters deeper than 10

metres and most sampling focused on the

depth band between 15 to 50 metres. These

areas are often turbid and organisms that

need light were not major components of the

seabed communities. Rather, animals that filter

the water or eat detritus on and in the seabed

were predominant. In all places visited to date,

sponges have been the most common and

largest organisms encountered. Echinoderms,

soft corals and bryozoans also featured


The survey results are still being analysed but

point to much of the deeper Kimberley waters

often having low levels of large sessile marine

life (those organisms that spend their lives

attached to the substrate), but in places where

rocks and ridges provide a place to settle and

hold on, quite diverse and abundant benthic

communities exist.

The role of light in supporting abundant benthic

primary production, such as algae, seagrasses

and stony corals, seems likely to be most

important in the shallower margins, less than

around 15 metres below low tide.

Shoreline areas and fringing reefs with

abundant corals and plants are throughout

the Kimberley, but are yet to be surveyed in

any detail from the large ship-based field


Future work is being planned, in collaboration

with local Indigenous sea rangers, to gather

additional nearshore data on some of these key

shallow water habitats.

The results will be added to the data collected

from the recent field trip aboard RV Solander

to the islands of the Bonaparte Archipelago to

investigate the coral reefs, sponges and other

marine life inhabiting this remote area of the


The Solander voyages include researchers from

AIMS, the Western Australian Museum, CSIRO

and Curtin University.

For more information please contact Dr Andrew

Heyward on (08) 6369 4038 or

The $30 million Kimberley Marine Research Program

is funded through major investment supported

by $12 million from the Western Australian

government’s Kimberley Science and Conservation

Strategy co-invested by the WAMSI partners

and supported by the Traditional Owners of the


winter 2016 l page 10


Western Australia

Cleans Up this October


[1] The WA Beach Clean Up is a great opportunity for schools to get their students

involved in caring for their coastline. Photo by Annie Palmer

[2] Nyul Nyul Rangers cleaned up Ngardalagan Beach in the Kimberley as part of the

2015 WA Beach Clean Up event. Photo by Mark Rothery

This year’s Western Australian Beach Clean Up will be

held on Friday 15 and Saturday 16 October right across

the State.

As in years past Tangaroa Blue encourages members of

the public, community groups, schools, corporate groups

and others to take part by organising a clean up at their

favourite section of our beautiful coastline. Clean ups can

also extend to our estuaries and inland rivers, streams and

other waterways as all water will eventually flow to the sea

taking with it whatever rubbish it contains.

Volunteers are invited to register as an individual or as

a group and nominate a beach or stretch of coastline

they will clean up. All materials, volunteer insurance and

logistical support will be provided; all we need is lots of

energy and many hands to help remove marine debris

from the coast.

This will be the 12 th year the event has been held,

growing from a local clean up based in the Capes region

of Western Australia in its inaugural year to a state-wide

event which last year saw 1,238 volunteers involved and

5,528 kilograms of rubbish removed from 268 kilometres

of our coastline.

To register your interest please email or call 0437 511 620.

The clean up is part of the Natural Resource Management

Program made possible by the State Government’s Natural

Resource Management Program and Royalties for Regions


Tangaroa Blue Foundation would like to thank Keep

Australia Beautiful WA, South West Catchments

Council, Department of Fisheries, Department of

Parks and Wildlife, Coastwest and local government

authorities around the State, as well as all the

amazing volunteers for their ongoing support of this

annual event.

For more information on Tangaroa Blue and the

West Australian Beach Clean Up efforts over the

past 11 years please visit the Tangaroa Blue




winter 2016 l page 11


Woodside staff had a fantastic opportunity to

escape the office and get their hands dirty

at the Marmion Coastal Foreshore Reserve,

Perth, with Conservation Volunteers Australia

(CVA). A team of 24 staff gave their time

on Friday 27 May for a day of planting and

weeding, to improve the important coastal

dune habitat. The day was part of the Woodside

Coastal Guardians Program, one of the largest

community coastal protection programs in

Australia, developed between Woodside

and CVA.

The Woodside Coastal Guardians Program

aims to protect Australia’s treasured coastline

by assisting coastal communities with the

skills and knowledge to protect marine icons,

while providing access to safe and rewarding

volunteering opportunities. Increased coastal

development in the Perth area has resulted in

many iconic locations becoming threatened by

invasive weed species, decline of native plants

and severe erosion from tides, storms and

uncontrolled public access.

The CVA and Woodside team worked alongside

Mike Norman from Friends of Sorrento Beach

and Marmion Foreshore. In collaboration with

the Friends of Sorrento Beach and Marmion

Foreshore, teams of hard-working CVA

volunteers regularly visit the area to conduct

important coastal rehabilitation activities

such as invasive weed removal, green stock

maintenance, installing ground stabilisation

materials and planting native species.

The Woodside team were highly successful

in planting 650 native plants in the dunes of

Sorrento Beach.

“The support from CVA is very valuable to

me, and is greatly appreciated. It allows us to

progress our projects at a much faster rate,”

Mr Norman said. “The Woodside staff day was

really valuable in helping us meet our project

objectives for 2016 and getting the whole

Sorrento and Marmion foreshores back into

excellent condition.”

Work began in the Sorrento Marmion Foreshore

area in 2000. The project has since removed

countless weeds (of approximately 25 species)

and replanted 20,500 native coastal plant

seedlings, with an average survival rate of 85

per cent. The project currently stretches over

2.5 kilometres of foreshore area.

The Woodside team greatly appreciated the

opportunity to become involved in the program.

“It was great to give something back to the

community and make a little contribution to

making the coast a bit more beautiful,” said

Woodside staff member Darren Hunter.

If you would like to become involved with

Conservation Volunteers, please contact the

Perth office on (08) 9335 2777, email or visit

Woodside Coastal Guardians

protecting Perth’s foreshores

CVA and Woodside employees at Marmion, May 2016. Photo by Mike Norman

winter 2016 l page 12


Beach dune



The Shire of Waroona, in partnership with the

Preston Beach Progress Association, has been

successful in securing funds from the Western

Australian Planning Commission’s Coastwest

grants program in 2015/2016 to help continue

the Preston Beach dune restoration project.

The project, primarily located around the Preston

Beach main carpark, is focused on dune brushing

and replanting to help prevent access, stabilise

dune blowouts and reduce erosion. It also

promotes seed collection and natural revegetation.

Local residents and the Shire continue to

stockpile native green cuttings in a dedicated

area that is spread onto problem areas by local


community volunteer Geoff Stacey. The support

from Coastwest has enabled the dune brushing to

extend up to two kilometres both north and south

of the main carpark.

The project has been running since 2011 and the

Shire has applied for more funding in 2017.

The 2016 community planting day was held

on Thursday 30 June with 130 students from

Mandurah Baptist College in attendance. As with

previous years, emergency services personnel will

be onsite to show students the ins and outs of an

ambulance, fire truck, police car and the popular

Preston Beach Rangers dune buggy. Overseeing

the day will be a local Green Army team, with the

event open to the public.

The Shire would like to thank Coastwest and the

Western Australian Planning Commission, Preston

Beach Progress Association, Preston Beach

volunteer rangers and the Mandurah Baptist

College for their assistance in this project.

For more information please contact the Shire

of Waroona

Mandurah Baptist College students enjoying a rundown of a Preston Beach Fire Unit as part of their

annual planting day - Photo by Mychelle Jeffery, Shire of Waroona

Coastal councils in Western Australia’s South

West have again received national recognition for

the management and implementation of climate

change strategies.

The Peron Naturaliste Partnership (PNP) was

awarded the 2016 Australian Coastal Award

for Climate Adaptation at the Australian Coastal

Council Conference held on Friday May 6 in


The PNP received the award for the group’s

collaborative approach to the first phase of

implementation of a regional coastal monitoring

program, covering approximately 210 kilometres

of coastline.

The Coastal Monitoring Program is being used

to tailor specific approaches required by each of

the nine participating councils to respond to local

coastal erosion and inundation hazards.


Peron Naturaliste Partnership

recognised at Australian Coastal Awards

From left to right – Waroona Shire

President Cr. Noel Dews, Bunbury

Cr. Murray Cook, Dardanup Cr.

Carmen Boyce, Busselton Cr. John

McCallum, PNP Deputy Chairperson

and Mandurah Cr. Caroline Knight,

PNP Chairperson and Harvey Shire

President Tanya Jackson

City of Mandurah Mayor Marina Vergone said

it was a big honour for the Peron Naturaliste

Partnership to be recognised on a national level

for its important environmental work.

“Conference judges believed the PNP was an

excellent example of how a collaborated approach

on coastal adaptation could help other coastal

regions around the country,” she said.

The PNP was established for the specific purpose

of addressing climate change adaptation and

helps participating councils implement effective

responses to climate risks including sea level rise,

coastal erosion, and inundation.

For further information about the PNP visit:

The Australian Coastal Awards were established to raise community awareness

of the coastal zone and to encourage coastal planning and management

practitioners to strive for excellence.

winter 2016 l page 13


New Cathedral Rocks seal viewing platform- Photo Rosalie Small

Rottnest (Wadjemup) Walk

Trail project secures grant

Rottnest Foundation has been successful

in receiving a $210,000 grant from the

Commonwealth Tourism Demand Driver

Infrastructure Program which is managed by

Tourism WA.

These funds will contribute towards building

the West End (north) section of the Wadjemup

Walk Trail project, which will see beach access

infrastructure constructed at Marjorie Bay

(west and east and Rocky Bay). Funds will also

contribute to interpretative signage and contract

staff to help implement this section.

Pass cursor over

image to enlarge

The Wadjemup Walk

Trail project is a 52

kilometre trail network

that controls and

manages visitor access

by connecting Rottnest’s

beautiful natural features

to its cultural history

in an environmentally

sustainable manner.

A major part of the

project involves

rehabilitation of informal

access tracks and

previously damaged

areas and the installation

of sustainable, low

maintenance, high

quality amenities such as

shelters, seats, bins and

bike racks.

The integration of interpretative signage along

the trail, including Aboriginal elements, provides

education about the Island’s cultural, historical

and environmental values to ensure visitors

continue to respect and protect the Island.

Three of the five trail sections are open and are

proving to be popular. Many visitors are using

the trails and associated facilities, decreasing

traffic on sand dunes and reducing ad-hoc

access. This in turn reduces erosion, increases

vegetation growth, decreases visitor risk and

improves visitor experience.

The trail project continues to generate

economic opportunities and is increasing

visitation, encouraging spending in the region,

helping to change behaviours and improve

attitudes towards conservation and generally

contributes to increasing the health and

wellbeing of the Western Australian community.

The unique environmental qualities of Rottnest

Island require protection and responsible

management. The Wadjemup Walk Trail is

one of a number of initiatives the Rottnest

Foundation in partnership with the Rottnest

Island Authority and affiliated volunteer groups

are using to achieve this goal.

Once complete, this section will connect visitors

to the new Cathedral Rocks seal viewing

platform at the westernmost point of the island

and also link to the Wadjemup Hill section

of the Wadjemup Walk Trail project, which is

currently being built using more than $500,000

in funds from Rottnest Foundation working in

partnership with BHP Billiton.

Works on the West End (north) section are due

to begin mid-2016 and will be completed by

mid-2018. Rottnest Foundation is still seeking

funds to build the West End (south) section of

the Wadjemup Walk Trail.

For more information please visit

winter 2016 l page 14

Only two months remain until

Coast to Coast 2016, Australia’s national

marine and coastal conference.

The conference program will include keynote speakers Professor Tim Flannery,

Professor Edward J. Blakely, Dr Tundi Agardy, Dr John Church, Dr Kathleen

McInnes and Tim Moltmann, all renowned experts in their fields.

The Victorian Coastal Council (VCC) is very

pleased to release further information on a

range of exciting and varied workshops for the

Marine and Coastal Workshop day, held on

Monday 29 August at the MCG in Melbourne:

• Morphodynamic Shoreline Modelling

Facilitator: Dr Kasper Kærgaard, Senior

Engineer, DHI

• Marine and Coastal Citizen Science

Facilitator: Mark Rodrigue, Program Leader

– Marine and Coasts, Parks Victoria

• Together we can achieve more than we

think: A conversation about Aboriginal

and Torres Strait Islander coastal values

Facilitator: Professor Kate Auty, ACT

Commissioner for Sustainability and the


• Researcher and Practitioner Workshop:

Climate Change Adaptation in the

Coastal Zone

Facilitator: Professor Tim Smith, Director

of the Sustainability Research Centre at

the University of the Sunshine Coast and

Convenor of National Adaptation Network

for the social, economic and institutional

dimensions of Climate Change

The VCC recognises the tireless work and

dedication of community and volunteer

groups who contribute to the sustainability,

conservation and management of coastal and

marine areas. Significantly reduced registration

fees for volunteers and community groups

who derive no income from their work with the

coast are available and can be booked here:


A range of field trips have been organised for

Wednesday 31 August to explore local coastal

and marine areas to showcase Victoria’s coast,

projects, challenges and positive outcomes. The

all-day field trip options are Bellarine Peninsula

and Surf Coast, Williamstown and Yarra River,

and Phillip Island and Mornington Peninsula.

This will be the first time an exclusive Executive

Forum will be held as part of the conference.

The Forum will be held on Wednesday 31

August 2016 at the MCG and through an

interactive program, will engage executive

level professionals with coastal and marine

management responsibilities or interests across

all sectors and jurisdictions. Topics will include

climate change adaptation planning, legal

liability, funding and balancing the needs of

multiple users.

This Forum is aimed at executive level

professionals from all levels of government,

business, peak bodies, non-government

organisations, and universities.

For further information and to see the

detailed program please visit

The VCC would like to recognise the following sponsors for Coast to Coast 2016:

Platinum Sponsor - Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning

Welcome Reception Sponsor - Central Coastal Board

National Keynote Speaker Sponsor - The University of Melbourne

Marine and Coastal Workshop Sponsor - DHI Water and Environment

General Sponsors - Barwon Coast and Bureau of Meteorology

winter 2016 l page 15


Estuaries are one of the most productive

ecosystems on the planet but a combination of

human influences and changing environmental

factors mean that many of these systems have

lost huge amount of fish habitats, leading to

diminished productivity.

About 85 per cent of shellfish reefs have been lost

world-wide and the South West is no exception.

In Oyster Harbour, Albany, oyster reefs were once

home to thriving fish communities, providing

complex fish habitat and performing important

ecosystem functions. However since their removal

by dredging over 100 years ago, the harbour and

its fish have been without this important habitat.

Given the significant ecosystem function of these

reefs, Recfishwest, The Nature Conservancy

Australia, University of Western Australia and

South Coast Natural Resource Management have

been working in partnership to bring oyster reefs

back to Oyster Harbour.

The project reached an important milestone in

May when four new rubble reefs were created

on the Oyster Harbour floor. The creation of these

rubble reefs is a crucial step in bringing back

oyster reefs as one of the biggest factors limiting

their natural recovery is the lack of hard structure

available for juvenile oysters to settle on and grow.

The world is your oyster…reef

To accelerate the process the reefs were seeded

with juvenile hatchery-reared oysters; grown on

recycled shell and placed onto the reef by divers.

As the reefs develop and are colonised by small

invertebrates such as crabs and shrimp, it is

expected they will provide an important food

source for fish, particularly juvenile bream and

snapper. The complex habitat should also provide

protection for juvenile fish from predators while

the oysters themselves have the potential to

improve water quality, with a fully grown oyster

filtering around five litres of water an hour.

This project, partially funded by fishing licence

fees through the Recreational Fishing Initiatives

Fund and supported by Recfishwest and the

WA Department of Fisheries, is the first time

oyster reef restoration has been attempted in

Western Australia. As these reefs develop they

will provide new fishing opportunities

in the harbour, with black bream

already being seen investigating the

new reefs. Recreational fishers know

the importance of healthy habitats to

healthy fisheries and are proud to be investing in

improving the health of aquatic ecosystems.

For more information on the oyster reef project

check out the landline segment at

or contact Recfishwest Habitat Officer Michael

Tropiano at


[1]: The new rubble reefs, seeded with the hatchery

reared juvenile oysters on recycled shells.

[2]: Rubble for the new reefs being deployed in

May 2016.

[3]: Juvenile hatchery reared oysters growing out on

longlines in Oyster Harbour before their deployment

onto the new rubble reefs.




winter 2016 l page 16


The Kimberley - understanding the

growth of seagrass and macroalgae



1 2

The Kimberley is vast and remote, with an

unspoilt coastline and wide diversity of marine

habitats and species. However, its remoteness

also means there has been little research into

how Kimberley marine ecosystems function.

Such information is key to supporting initiatives

such as the Kimberley Science and Conservation


A team funded through the Western Australian

Marine Science Institution’s (WAMSI) Kimberley

Marine Research Program comprising scientists

from the University of Western Australia,

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research

Organisation (CSIRO), and Edith Cowan University

have been working with the Bardi Jawi rangers

on marine ecosystems of islands in the Bardi

Jawi Indigenous Protected Area (IPA). The team

has been studying the growth of seagrasses and

macroalgae – which are key food sources for

herbivorous fish, dugong and marine turtles.

Five expeditions were made to the area between

November 2013 and October 2015. During these

expeditions, the team measured plant biomass

and growth, rates of consumption by herbivores,

ratios of stable isotopes of important elements,

the abundance of microscopic algae and

bacteria, nutrients in water and sediment, and

light levels at the seafloor.

One of the key findings was that the two most

dominant seagrass species in the intertidal

lagoons, Thalassia hemprichii and Enhalus

acoroides experience extremes of temperature

and oxygen concentrations. They experience

high oxygen concentrations during the day and

low oxygen concentrations during the night,

including hypoxic conditions (extremely low

oxygen) for extended periods (greater than eight

hours) during low tides. Water temperatures in

these lagoons sometimes exceed 45 degrees

Celsius, yet even under these extreme conditions,

the seagrasses can still photosynthesise and

maintain high growth rates at water temperatures

up to 40 °C. Growth rates for Thalassia leaves

are in the order of 0.5 to 1.0 centimetres each

day, while those for Enhalus leaves are 0.5 to 1.5

centimetres per day — very rapid growth rates

that took the research team by surprise.

Collaborations with the Bardi Jawi rangers, who

are custodians of the IPA, added enormous value

to the research. The exchange of knowledge

between scientists and rangers allowed the

team to recognise the importance of seagrass

to rabbitfish, a key food source for the local

community. The partnerships established

between the team and the Bardi Jawi rangers is

a key success of this project and is a model for

how science and traditional knowledge can be

combined to develop a deeper understanding of

how these complex habitats function.

The project has now concluded, and you can find

more information at the WAMSI website


[1]: Seagrass habitat and fringing mangove

habitat, typical of the Bardi Jawi IPA

[2]: Professor Gary Kendrick (UWA) measuring

seagrass abundance at Tallon Island

[[3]: Trevor Sampi driving the Bardi Jawi rangers

boat Almban

[4]: Bardi Jawi IPA Ranger punching seagrass

leases as part of the study

Photos by Mat Vanderklift CSIRO

winter 2016 l page 17

The views and opinions expressed in this Coastlines

magazine are those of the authors of the various articles

and do not necessarily reflect those of the WAPC or the

Department, neither should they be seen as coinciding

with any official policy of the WAPC or DoP unless

clearly indicated as such. Opinions contrary to the

WAPC or DoP’s policy or practice may be published in

the interest of critical debate.

While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure

that the contents of this magazine are factually correct,

the WAPC and DoP do not accept any responsibility for

the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this

magazine and shall not be liable for any loss or damage

that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the

use of, or reliance on, the contents of this publication.

© Copyright State of Western Australia

Published by

Western Australian Planning Commission

Gordon Stephenson House

140 William Street,

Perth WA 6000

Locked Bag 2506

Perth WA 6001

Published July 2016

tel: (08) 655 19000

fax: (08) 655 19001

National Relay Service: 13 36 77

infoline: 1800 626 477



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