The long term protection of the wetland and waterways in the Geographe Catchment and the adjacent marine environment of Geographe Bay are highly dependent on the maintenance of their water quality. Land use changes as a result of urbanisation and more intensive agriculture in the south west region has resulted in large loads of nutrients entering the wetlands, waterways and the bay. Without management intervention, this pollution is predicted to significantly increase over the next 20 years.
Over the years the wetlands and waterways have experienced severe nutrient problems including sudden mass fish deaths, blooms of macroalgae, toxic phytoplankton, nuisance odour and mosquito problems. The water quality condition of the highly valued Geographe Bay is considerably better than the wetlands and waterways. The Bay supports extensive seagrass meadows that provide vital habitat for many fish and other marine life. Because seagrasses are known to be sensitive to the impacts of elevated nutrients a ‘watching brief’ is being maintained on the Geographe Bay seagrass ecosystem.
In March 2010 the Department of Water (DoW) released the Water Quality Improvement Plan for the Vasse Wonnerup Wetlands and Geographe Bay (WQIP). The purpose of the plan is to guide management strategies to reduce the flow of nutrients to these important ecosystems. The plan brings together the best available scientific knowledge about the current water quality status of the Vasse Wonnerup Wetlands, Geographe Bay and their waterways for the purpose of nutrient management planning.
GeoCatch sees implementation of the WQIP its highest priority and has acquired funding to implement initiatives recommended in the plan. In doing so GeoCatch aims to reduce nutrients in priority water bodies to levels that maintain or restore ecological and community values. GeoCatch is working with various sectors of the community in the rural and urban environments to achieve this aim.
Our Water Quality projects include: