GeoCatch has a new catchment management strategy to guide natural resource management through to 2029.
The strategy focuses on four key themes: healthy waterways, wetlands and Geographe Bay, sustainable growth, protected biodiversity and engaged, informed, involved community and partners.
The four themes, and strategies to address them were developed over the last 18 months with input from GeoCatch members and staff and the local community through workshops and an on-line survey.
“We really sought to find out what the community cared about, what they were concerned about and where they felt we should focus,” said GeoCatch Chair, Dr Felicity Bradshaw.
Workshops and surveys highlighted that the Geographe community values the diversity of wildlife, beautiful scenery and clean water but is concerned about the impacts of urban development, agricultural practices, pollution and rubbish. The most important GeoCatch management issues were found to be Improving water quality of waterways, protecting and improving wetlands, sustainable use of water resources, and protecting and improving biodiversity, were the issue with over 75% of responses indicating these are ‘very important’.
Participants also considered a lack of community awareness about the environment as being one of the key concerns for the future management of the Geographe catchment, and that it should be a key focus area for GeoCatch. This aligns with GeoCatch’s mission statement, “To provide leadership, raise awareness and collaborate with our partners, stakeholders and the community to protect and enhance the natural values and support sustainable growth of the Geographe Bay catchment” and emphasises the need for GeoCatch to continue and strengthen its engagement with the Geographe community.
The changing face of NRM, both politically and environmentally, has resulted in many changes since the last strategy was developed in 2008. Government policy, community and stakeholder values and expectations, existing plans and initiatives, funding structures and availability, NRM values and threats, and our knowledge on the science of the catchment has changed significantly.
“Our management strategy allows for our continuous planning, monitoring and assessment of all that is necessary to meet our goals and objectives,” said Felicity.
You can view a copy of the strategy here.