This year marks a 10-year milestone for a project partnership between South West Catchments Council (SWCC) and the Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions (DBCA).
The partnership began in 2007, with the aim of restoring key habitat areas of the Vasse Wonnerup Wetlands.
Since then more than 42 hectares surrounding the Vasse Wonnerup wetlands have undergone restoration work, including protective fencing, weed and pest animal control, stock management and revegetation.
So far over 270,000 native seedlings have been planted across 11 sites throughout the iconic wetlands, with a further 4,600 seedlings being raised for planting this winter.
The Vasse Wonnerup system has a long history of disturbance through extensive clearing for agriculture and development, altered drainage, manipulated water levels, invasive weed species and stock grazing.
The wetlands are recognised and protected through the Ramsar Convention, which aims to halt the worldwide loss of wetlands and protect migratory waterbird habitat through international agreements.
Christine Taylor from DBCA explains the significance of restoration efforts.
“Migratory and domestic waterbirds, birds of prey and other species rely on fringing wetland vegetation for breeding, roosting and foraging. The wetland system regularly supports over 20,000 waterbirds on a single day.
“Some species travel from as far as Siberia to feed in the Vasse-Wonnerup over summer, so we have an international obligation to ensure their habitat here in the South West is protected” said Mrs Taylor.
SWCC Project Manager Pip Marshall reflects on a decade of partnership.
“While it takes a really long time to genuinely restore a landscape, a decade on we are now seeing this landscape being truly transformed from degraded weedy paddocks to thriving and diverse habitat”.
This project is supported by the South West Catchments Council through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program and the Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions.