Muir Byenup Wetlands
The Muir-Byenup wetland system is a complex landscape of valley floor wetlands of 10,630 hectares in size, designated under the Ramsar Convention as a wetland of international importance, acknowledging its rich ecological diversity. It is located 55km south east of Manjimup in the south west region, and sits within the Shires of Manjimup and Cranbrook.
Biological and physical values
The important values of this Ramsar wetland system include:
- Over 600 native plant species are found here, with three nationally vulnerable wetland dependent orchids being the Harrington’s Spider Orchid, Christine’s Spider Orchid and the Tall Donkey Orchid.
- The wetlands support over 20,000 waterbirds that use the site as a drought refuge. It is one of the most important moulting sites for Australia Shelducks, and is a breeding site for birds such as the Little Bittern, the Spotless Crake, the Australasian Bittern, the Black Swan and the Eurasian Coot. It supports 10 bird species identified under the International Migratory Species Agreement.
- It is the only wetland complex of its type in Western Australia that is in near pristine condition.
- It contains a suite of different wetlands ranging from small to large, fresh to saline, permanent to seasonal and is almost exclusively an internally draining system.
- It supports 7 vulnerable fauna species including the Balston’s Pygmy Perch, Muir’s Corella, Forest Red-tailed Black Cockatoo, Chuditch, Numbat, Woylie and Quokka.
The Muir Byenup system is designated under the Ramsar Convention as a wetland of international importance.
The key threats to this wetland system include pest species (such as feral pigs, deer, foxes and rabbits), weed species (such as Typha, Paterson’s Curse, Cape Tulip and Watsonia), eutrophication, salinisation, acidification, altered water flows, dieback and inappropriate fire regimes.
Muir Byenup Wetlands and Climate Change
SWCC Strategic Priority
The Muir Byenup Wetlands are identified within SWCC’s NRM Strategy as a high priority asset under both the Aquatic Biodiversity and Water Resources themes.
SWCC and other stakeholders have been working in the area for many years to try to address the above threats. Some of the projects that SWCC has funded in the area include:
- Control of weeds including Typha, Paterson’s Curse and Cape Tulip
- Feral pig trapping
- Fox control
- Rabbit baiting trials
- Feral deer control
More can be found out about what was achieved by SWCC and its partners in the past in the a case-study found here.
- Perup Management Plan (2012) by Department of Environment and Conservation Perth.
- Information Sheet on Ramsar Wetlands for the Muir-Byenup System WA
Header and thumbnail images supplied by Damien Postma.