Bindjareb Djilba (Peel-Harvey estuary) Protection Plan

A plan for the protection of the Peel-Harvey estuary
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The Bindjareb Djilba (Peel-Harvey estuary) Protection Plan is a whole-of-government approach to protecting the Peel-Harvey estuary and its internationally recognised values. 

The Peel-Harvey estuary is the largest and most diverse estuarine complex in south-western Australia – offering a unique and desirable lifestyle for surrounding communities as well as making it a key destination for tourism and recreation.

The proximity of the Peel-Harvey estuary to Perth has put it under increasing strain over the decades, as agricultural and urban land has expanded. The estuary suffered an ecological collapse in the 1980s as a consequence of nutrient pollution, leading to a costly engineered intervention, the Dawesville Cut, to reset the ecosystem. There was a dramatic improvement in water quality, leading to a substantial investment in expanding urban development in the region. However, excess nutrients from agriculture has remained a problem. Also, large tracts of estuarine wetland habitat were lost with the development of canal estates, further reducing the ability of the estuary to process and remove nutrients. 

The pressures of urban development, intensification of agriculture and climate change continue to increase. Symptoms of poor estuary health include fish deaths, low-oxygen water and the proliferation of nuisance algae, which harms fishing, hospitality and tourism industries as well as affecting property values and the lifestyles of local communities. 

The Bindjareb Djilba (Peel-Harvey estuary) Protection Plan (see document below) collates actions across the estuary and its catchment and asks for many groups to work together to protect the estuary’s values for future generations. It links to the 2008 Water Quality Improvement Plan (in revision), incorporates thinking from the Perth Peel @3.5 million assessments and builds on the experience delivering the Regional Estuaries Initiative.

A summary of the plan can be found in our Implementing Bindjareb Djilbalink flyer (see document below).

It is time for a renewed focus on improving water quality in the Peel-Harvey estuary, building on the lessons of the past while exploring new and innovative ways of managing the competing demands on this system.   

We look forward to walking together on this journey with the Bindjareb Noongar and other estuary stakeholders as we work to protect the estuary’s cultural, social, environmental and economic values.