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Vasse Wonnerup

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vasse-wonnerup_img The aim of this monitoring project is to gather data on the abundance and distribution of macrophytes, macroalgae, phytoplankton cover and water quality within the Ramsar listed Vasse-Wonnerup Wetlands, and to report on the management implications.

The Vasse-Wonnerup Wetlands are an important habitat for waterbirds. The diversity and abundance of waterbirds on which the Ramsar nomination for the Vasse-Wonnerup Wetlands is based, is dependent on phytoplankton, macroalgal and macrophyte (charophytes and aquatic angiosperms) communities. It is crucial that the quality of this food source be maintained if waterbirds are to be conserved on the wetlands.

The program is coordinated by Dr Jane Chambers from Murdoch University with assistance from the Department of Environment and Conservation.

The current program follows on from previous snapshot sampling programs undertaken in 2006, 2007 and 2008 which were developed in response to concerns by Department of Environment and Conservation of an increase in macroalgal assemblages in the water-body and the potential to impact on food availability for waterbirds.

Achievements
  • Annual sampling and analysis has been undertaken between 2006 and 2011 with sampling planned for November 2011 undertaken in January 2012 due to high water levels in November 2011.
  • A final report on the monitoring program was submitted to GeoCatch in late 2011. Two reports have been prepared, one detailing 2009-10 data and another collating and analysing all the data from 2006-2010.
  • Information from this project was presented at a Wetlands and Seagrass Forum in September 2010, and again at the Community Wetlands Symposium June 2011.
  • Dr Jane Chambers from Murdoch University presented the findings of the monitoring program as part of the Bay OK Seminar Series in Busselton in May 2012.

Funding and Partnerships

This project is funded by the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country Program. Monitoring is undertaken in partnership with Murdoch University, the Department of Water and the Department of Environment and Conservation.

Project Future

The monitoring program will be continued in 2013, however continuation of the program is dependent on available funding. The project will continue to look at the relationship between aquatic plant and macroinvertebrate distribution and water and sediment nutrients of the Vasse-Wonnerup Estuary.