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Coasts, Foreshores and Wetlands

The Peel Inlet, Harvey Estuary and the Yalgorup lakes make up the Peel-Yalgorup System which was inscribed on the list of Wetlands of International Importance under the Convention of Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971) on 7 June, 1990. The Peel-Yalgorup System is the largest in the South West and contains many nationally significant wetlands as well as being protected by the Japan Australia (JAMBA) and the China Australia Migratory Bird Agreements (CAMBA). The Peel-Yalgorup System is also the largest professional estuarine fishery in Western Australia and is recognised as a vital recreational and tourism resource. Pressure from expanding urbanisation, recreation and agriculture is resulting in the significant degradation of the Peel-Yalgorup System and threatens its long term sustainability.


Since the 1994 opening of the Dawesville Channel the Peel Inlet, Harvey Estuary and lower reaches of the Murray and Serpentine Rivers are experiencing the anticipated impacts of higher and more frequent tides. This has led to significant changes in the estuarine ecology, particularly the fringing vegetation. The impacts have been aggravated by the increased accessibility to larger recreational watercraft (via the Dawesville Channel) leading to accelerated bank erosion from boat wash and loss of fringing vegetation.


Serpentine River - Shane Kearney
Serpentine River - Shane Kearney


The major finding of the Peel Economic Development and Recreation Management Plan for the Peel Waterways (August, 2004) is that: “... without corrective action, the Peel Waterways will not be able to sustain the increased recreational demands of expected population growth. Under such stress, the environment will decline further unless resources are found for action in the catchment to improve water quality throughout the system, and affirmative action to restore the environment and habitats of the rivers, particularly the Murray and Serpentine”.


The City of Mandurah’s foreshore rehabilitation project will enable the protection and rehabilitation of priority areas on both public and private land within the Peel Inlet, Harvey Estuary and lower Serpentine River and lakes system in a strategic and co-ordinated manner. The project will achieve the stabilisation of the riparian zones to provide long term benefits of improved water quality, habitat and biodiversity as well as better managed community and visitor access. The project hopes to encourage community stewardship which will ensure the immediate and ongoing care of Mandurah’s waterways. You can view some of Mandurah's beautiful bird species in the website created by local resident Ken Monson by clicking here.