Overview of the South West NRM Region
The South West NRM region is one of seven in Western Australia and of 56 regions that coordinate NRM nationally. It had a population of almost 300,000 people in 2010, living in 19 Local Government Areas. The region covers almost 4 million hectares and is sub-divided into five sub-regions managed by community catchment groups, i.e. Blackwood Basin Group, Cape-to-Cape Catchments Group, Geographe Catchment Council, Leschenault Catchment Council and Warren Catchments Council .
At a local level, the region is strongly supported by a network of pro-active and committed community-based groups including LCDCs, grower & industry groups, friends of groups, Indigenous groups and other similar and diverse organisations. These groups are the backbone of community-based NRM and are generally the local drivers for positive change in the environment, with local governments and the private sector providing key support.
From a geological and evolutionary perspective, the region is ancient and diverse, with rich natural resources that support a broad range of resource-based industries such as agriculture, forestry, recreational fishing, mining and tourism, all significant to the Western Australian economy. Water is likely to become a growth-limiting factor for some of these industries, especially if the current drying trend associated with climate change continues, as predicted by CSIRO
The South West NRM region is particularly diverse and has led to it being declared as one of the world’s “hotspots” of floral diversity (Myers et al. 2000), as some 3500 plant species and over 500 species of terrestrial animal species have been recorded here. At least 10% of the plant and a quarter of the animal species have been identified as being at risk and require active conservation management. It is also globally recognised and acknowledged for its Wetlands of International Importance, listed under the Ramsar Convention.
The region is also culturally diverse, starting with the Noongar people who have lived in close association with the natural environment for 40,000 years or more. European history is much more recent, beginning in Western Australia in 1826 and resulting in many negative and on-going impacts on the natural environment through land clearing for agriculture and settlement, timber harvesting, mining and the introduction of feral animals and invasive plant species.
As the traditional inhabitants of this land, the Noongar  people have used the land, the sea, the waters and the plants and animals of this land for tens of thousands of years.
Caring for Country is at the heart of the culture of the Noongar people, and underpins their spiritual, cultural and physical well-being.
The need to care for our country is a powerful lesson for all and one that has taken the descendants of those first European settlers over 150 years to begin to come to terms with. But the lesson has now begun.
To do this effectively, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal cultures must engage with each other and learn from each other’s experience and knowledge.
The South West NRM region recognises the value of involving Noongar people at all levels of natural resource management, from policy development to on-ground action. The greatest opportunity we have to better care for our country is to work together so that our country may in turn care for us and for future generations.
South West NRM Region showing the Nyungar groups.
 Noongar (or Nyungar, Nyoongar, Nyoogah, Nyungah) means a descendant of the Aboriginal people of the South West region of Western Australia and describes a person who identifies with that community and is accepted as a member of the community by the Noongar community.