Face facts on environment

A five-year vision of creating a ‘one-stop-shop’ for environmental information on the South West region has come to fruition for the South West Catchments Council (SWCC).

Launched on Friday with help from project partners, the South West Environmental Snapshot is an online resource that provides a contemporary overview of the region’s greatest challenges and opportunities together with insights into how important envionmental assets have changed between 2001 and 2017.

The dedicated website southwestsnapshot.com.au aims to foster greater community appreciation, understanding and participation in improving and maintaining the unique south west environment as well as a sense of place.

A steering committee, technical advisory panels and leading experts identified, prioritised and developed 33 indicators across key Natural Resource Management (NRM) themes including terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity, land and water resources, coastal and marine assets, as well as Noongar and non-Aboriginal culture and history.

A series of case studies were then developed for each theme to provide more comprehensive and in-depth examination of some of the most pertinent indicators and the associated conservation actions and on-ground activities implemented regionally to address them.

SWCC Senior Scientist Dr. Emily Hugues-dit-Ciles said part of SWCC’s mission was to be a community change-maker on behalf of the natural environment and the communities it represented.

Dr Hugues-dit-Ciles said the Snapshot was designed to be a more accessible information resource and to empower the community to care for their patch.

“We tend to hear so much bad news about the environment that many people feel like they can’t change things or sort fact from fiction,” she explained.

“The Snapshot draws from numerous Government, academic and industry sources and translates the technical jargon so the challenges and opportunities are clearer for all.”

Dr Hugues-dit-Ciles said the landscape, economy, health and wellbeing were all dependent on how the community collectively cared for and managed its environment and natural resources.

She hoped the Snapshot would encourage active discussions amongst citizens, community leaders, all tiers of government, businesses, landholders and other relevant stakeholders, that would prompt action and drive change.

The project is supported by SWCC through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

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