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Barrier estuaries: Science for restoring and enhancing estuary values

The Vasse-Wonnerup Wetland system in the Busselton region is a Ramsar-listed wetland with significant estuary values. It is also a highly modified waterway and major fish deaths have been reported in the system since 1905. Continued decline in the Geographe catchment’s water quality in the past 40 years has seen recurrent fish kills in the Vasse Wonnerup wetlands and Toby Inlet, and toxic algal blooms in the Lower Vasse River. The catchment has intensive dairy and horticultural land uses and further development pressures are anticipated. Two sets of floodgates regulate water levels, exclude seawater and minimise flooding of the adjoining lands and Busselton township.  A key focus for management is how to operate the flood gates to manage hydrological issues, whilst optimising ecological values.

The Vasse Taskforce, established in 2014 and chaired by the Hon Mia Davies, Minister for Water, WA will drive the actions supported by the Government’s response to the Vasse Independent Review by Professor Barry Hart through the implementation of the Vasse Geographe Strategy.

This is an exciting government – industry – research – community partnership aimed at addressing diffuse nutrient pollution problems.  The 28th National Estuaries Network Science Forum is designed to highlight the current state of estuary health and management issues of the Vasse Wonnerup, illustrate the science and knowledge relevant to these issues and facilitate a panel discussion with members of the National Estuaries Network open to the engaged Vasse community for exchange of information.

This forum will also inform the WA Marine Science Institution-led consultative process to review and prioritise the research and knowledge needs for South West Western Australian estuaries. The Vasse-Wonnerup is one of the case studies in this review.

To register email Chelsea.McKeich@water.wa.gov.au

Abbey Beach Resort ballroom, Busselton, Western Australia

Busselton, Western Australia

Wed 20 May 2015 To Wed 20 May 2015

9:30am To 5:00pm