SWCC has secured funding through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program and the Government of Western Australia to develop a Coastal Action Plan (CAP) for the South West NRM Region.
What is the Coastal Action Plan?
The coastal environs in the South West NRM Region of Western Australia are one of the State’s greatest assets in terms of its community, cultural, economic and environmental values. They offer a highly sought after lifestyle, and recreational and tourism experience that appeals and is accessible to the majority of West Australians and its national and international visitors; underpin already numerous and growing employment opportunities; and provide habitat to a diverse range of flora and fauna.
Stretching approximately 500 km from Binningup to Walpole, the south west coastal environs include rocky headlands, picturesque sheltered bays, high energy surfing beaches, dunes, dense bushland areas as well as estuaries, mangroves, and wetlands (including the Vasse-Wonnerup Ramsar Wetland System of international significance).
The south west coastal zone area is furthermore under increasing threat from development, land clearing, climate change, population growth, tourism and recreational use. The number of people visiting and residing on the coast is growing rapidly and is further exacerbating recreational, residential, industrial and commercial pressures on the coast.
“Over the past five years the South West’s average annual growth rate was 2.8 per cent, compared to the State and national growth rates for the same period of 2.9 per cent and 1.7 per cent respectively. Most of the population growth is forecast to occur along the coastal strip, with the biggest population increases expected for the Shire of Busselton and the Greater Bunbury area” (South West Development Commission: source http://www.swdc.wa.gov.au/information-centre/statistics/population.aspx. Downloaded 20140701).
The large number of people that recreate and visit coastal areas of the Region may inadvertently impact on vulnerable species and habitats. SWCC along with many community groups, local governments and government agencies are now facing the challenge of deciding how best to use limited resources on an increasing number of coastal areas. While there are existing management plans for specific parts of the South West NRM region’s coast, there is an urgent need to strategically prioritise sites at a regional level for on-ground actions to protect our coastal environment. The project aims to develop a Coastal Action Plan (CAP) to strategically prioritise on-ground works at key sites in the region. This will enable all local governments, government agencies, aboriginal groups, community groups, and local residents with an interest in the coast to work together to achieve the best outcomes for our south west coastal environments.
The study area falls within the coastal environs of the South West Catchments Council NRM region, stretching from Binningup (143 kms south of the Perth) in the north to Walpole on the south coast. It is the seaward margin of two Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation of Australia (IBRA) regions, the Swan Coastal Plain region and the Warren region.
Whilst the SWCC region is divided into four sectors if the IBRA regions that best groups the physical characteristics of the coast, the CAP study area is to be divided into three sections:
- Section 1: Regroups the two IBRA sectors (Mandurah to Bunbury and Bunbury to the Cape Naturalist) as the SWCC boundary now starts at Binningup. The first two sectors are combined and thus cover the area from Binninup to Cape Naturaliste (Swan Coastal Plain region: Binningup to Bunbury which is predominantly west-facing sandy shore affected by a moderate wind and wave regime and Bunbury to Cape Naturaliste which is predominantly north-facing sandy shore affected by a low-to-moderate wind and wave regime). View map here (2 MB).
- Section 2: Cape Naturaliste to Augusta (Warren region with a predominantly west-facing rocky shore affected by a high wind and wave regime). View map here (3 MB)
- Section 3: Augusta to Walpole (Warren region with a predominantly southwest-facing sandy shore affected by a high wind and wave regime). View map here (2.6 MB)
This study area focuses on the coastal environs in Western Australia which are commonly defined as “the mobile beach zone and modern (Holocene) dune system; mangroves and wetlands and flats subject to tidal influence; areas potentially subject to shoreline movements, coastal waters, the seabed (seaward to the three nautical mile State limit) and off shore islands, including gulfs and sounds, under the jurisdiction of the Western Australian Government; and estuaries and associated section of waterways with tidal influence and coastal lagoons” (SWCC regional strategy, 2005).
Aims of the CAP
A strategic Coastal Action Plan (CAP) will be developed to prioritise on-ground works and other critical activities required at key sites in the South West NRM region. An assessment of the environmental values of and pressing issues/threats affecting the coastal environs will be undertaken to strategically identify priority sites for on-ground actions.
The CAP will deliver a strategic regional plan to manage our south west coastal environment through a coordinated approach and a collaborative and consultative process.
The CAP will provide a unique planning mechanism, which has the ability to operate across different land tenures, jurisdictions and land management responsibilities to achieve integration and coordination of coastal zone management. This will enable all local governments, government agencies, aboriginal groups, community groups, and local residents with an interest in the coast to work together to achieve the best outcomes for our south west coastal environments.
The CAP will assist in:
- Managing, maintaining and enhancing the conservation values of the South West coastal environs;
- Managing and facilitating sustainable recreation and tourism on the coast; and
- Fostering community, Local, State and Australian Government partnerships, ownership and responsibility for the protection and management of the coastline and foreshore.
Objectives of CAP
The CAP will aid to strategically streamline and prioritise sites where urgent on-ground works and community engagement are required.
The CAP’s objectives are to:
- Identify values of the SW coastal environments,
- Identify and prioritise emerging issues and threats affecting the SW coastal environments,
- Revisit community identified issues affecting the coastal environment of the south west.
- Using a matrix, prioritise on-ground actions and strategic sites to help maintain, improve and mitigate any emerging threats/issues affecting the coast and foreshore of south west coastline, namely the:
- Conservation/environmental values
- Social, cultural and Aboriginal values
- Recreation and tourism values
- Identify relevant community consultation and engagement activities required for the implementation of the CAP.
The Coastal Action Plan has now been finalised
We welcome your ongoing input as this is a living document that will be reviewed every 5 years.
The final CAP and maps can be downloaded below.
Download individual maps at high resolution below.
Overview Maps Coastal Values, Threats and Priorities
Download High Res Maps
Coastal Values, Threats and Priorities
This project has been made possible through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.
Images by Damien Postma