Community urged to back Peel waterways vision

A $2 million vision to improve the health of key Peel waterways through a multi-agency and community approach was officially launched today (Friday 23 March).

Stakeholders across government, community and the environmental sector came together in Mandurah for the launch of the Three Rivers – One Estuary vision, made possible through funding from the Alcoa Foundation.

Alcoa of Australia Chairperson and Managing Director Michael Parker used the launch to call on the community to get behind the vision and the three projects spearheading it.

The projects – headed by Greening Australia, The Nature Conservancy and the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council – aim to improve the health of the Serpentine, Murray and Harvey rivers along with the Peel Harvey Estuary, which is internationally recognised as a wetland of significance under the Ramsar Convention.

 “By working together, we can ensure the ongoing health of these waterways, which are the lifeblood of our communities not only from an environmental perspective but also socially and economically,” Mr Parker said.

“Collaborations like Three Rivers, One Estuary allow for a big vision and great success as we tap into the strengths of individual initiatives and create synergy for an even greater purpose.

“Alcoa is proud to have played a role in bringing together these three highly-respected environmental organisations. Our hope is that other environmental and land management groups, governments at all levels, and the broader community will get behind their work. There will be plenty of opportunities for us all to roll up our sleeves and help make an even bigger difference together.”

The Nature Conservancy Australia Marine Manager Dr Chris Gillies said they would hold a series of public presentations and workshops to coincide with these projects, seeking the community’s input into what in-water projects will return the highest conservation benefit in the area.

“Our local and international experts will work with the community to discuss the latest restoration methods for improving fisheries, reducing nutrient runoff and protecting shorelines against sea level rise and flooding,” Dr Gillies said.

“This will help us determine the best projects we can implement in the area to deliver the maximum conservation outcome.”

Peel-Harvey Catchment Council Chairman Andy Gulliver said there were plenty of opportunities for people to get involved with the PHCC’s project – Connecting Corridors and Communities, Restoring the Serpentine River.

“Our ‘Restoring the Serpentine River project’ is aimed at improving the health of the Serpentine River and our Ramsar listed Peel-Harvey Estuary,” Mr Gulliver said.

“Our team will work with private landholders and our local Noongar people to link significant restoration projects undertaken by government and community. This funding is very much welcomed as it will boost our ability to undertake on-ground works to improve the Serpentine River and communicate, raise awareness and encourage participation by the local community.”

Greening Australia chief executive officer Brendan Foran also urged the community to get involved in Greening’s Three Rivers Project, which aims to improve the condition of Serpentine, Murray and Harvey rivers, reverse habitat loss and integrate large-scale restoration and carbon sinks into the area’s fragmented landscape.

“We will have four community-based priority restoration works each year and we’d welcome as many helpers as possible,” Mr Foran said.

“Many hands make light work and together we can make a difference.”