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THE South Coast NRM regional boundary does not coincide with those of local or State Government but is based on water catchment boundaries.

This is because many management issues are related to catchment hydrology and its effects on water, vegetation and land condition.

In the north-east of the region, catchment boundaries are difficult to define. South Coast NRM and the Rangelands NRM Coordinating Group have realigned their boundaries to match the borders of the Shire of Esperance and part of the Shire of Ravensthorpe.

This makes it easier for the shires, allowing them to concentrate on working with South Coast NRM, rather than two, separate NRM groups.

The modification of the South Coast NRM regional boundary also incorporates all the islands of the Recherche Archipelago. South Coast NRM and the Rangelands NRM Coordinating Group already cooperate on cross-regional issues and this arrangement will continue into the future.

The following sub-regions all exist within the South Coast NRM locality.

Kent Frankland

The 39m Wall of Perceptions is one of the many interactive features at the Swarbrick Art Loop, which is situated in an old growth karri forest in the heart of the Walpole Wilderness Area.

KENT-Frankland is located in the most western part of the region and includes the townships of Rocky Gully, Frankland, Cranbrook, Tambellup, Nornalup, Walpole and Broomehill.

It contains high precipitation, forested catchments flowing into the Nornalup and Irwin inlets, with rainfall dropping off from more than 1,100mm per annum at Walpole in the south, to about 400mm per annum at Tambellup in the north (information based on rainfall from 1976 to 2005).

Vegetation varies according to annual rainfall and soil types, which consist of several sand and loam mixes. Vegetation differs from wandoo and yate woodlands near Tambellup, to Jarrah and marri woodlands and karri, tingle and jarrah forests at Walpole and Nornalup.

Several endemic species of fauna and flora occur in the area including types of tailflower (Anthocercis sylvicola), a sprawling spiky adenanthos (Adenanthos pungens subsp. effuses), tingle trees, a gondwanan relictual moggridgea spider and the sunset frog (Spicospina flammocaerulea).

The Walpole and Nornalup Inlets Marine Park was created in May 2009 to protect rich aquatic life, and ensure significant areas will be protected in the future. The southern part of this sub-region is dominated by the national parks, nature reserves and State forests of the Walpole Wilderness Area.

Industry in the north of Kent-Frankland is predominantly agricultural, consisting of cereal crops and grazing with some viticulture and silviculture. Perennial pastures are predominant in this sub-region and grown in rotation with wheat, barley, canola and oats.

Salinity, water repellence, acidic soils and erosion are major threats to farming. Tourism is a major industry with attractions such as the Valley of the Giants Tree-top Walk, the Walpole Wilderness Area, heritage buildings and wineries.

Aboriginal middens, artefacts and fish traps can still be seen near the Walpole-Nornalup National Park.

Several NRM projects have been funded including dryland farm forestry, biodiversity education and awareness raising, waterways, perennial pastures, Carnaby's black cockatoo habitat protection, soil health and sustainable agriculture.

Albany Hinterland


View from Castle Rock, Porongurup National Park, looking towards Albany.

THE Albany Hinterland is located in the western part of the region and incorporates Denmark, Albany, Mt Barker, Manypeaks and Wellstead. It takes in all of the Denmark, Hay and Kalgan river catchments flowing south from the Stirling Range and discharging into the Wilson Inlet and Oyster Harbour.

According to the Department of Agriculture and Food WA, average rainfall for the area fluctuates from 950mm per annum near Denmark in the south-west, to 400mm per annum over the Stirling Range to the north (information based on rainfall from 1976 to 2005).

Soil type is fairly uniform, consisting of yellowish brown sandy and gravelly duplex with underlying yellow to grey siltstone, silty sandstone and spongolite Eocene sediments.

Vegetation types vary and include jarrah, marri, yate, karri woodlands, heathland, shrub lands and grasslands. There are a number of rare and vulnerable species including the scarlet banksia (Banksia coccinea), Gilbert's potoroo and the noisy scrub-bird.

Several species are common to the Albany Hinterland with 10 endemic plant types occurring in the Porongurup National Park and several relictual species in Denmark. The coastal areas are also important for migrating southern right and humpback whales.

The Albany-Hinterland contains nine national parks including Gull Rock, the majority of the Stirling Range, Porongurup, Waychinicup, Torndirrup, West Cape Howe, William Bay, Mt Lindesay and part of Mt Roe.

There are also a number of significant nature reserves, including Two Peoples Bay, Mt Manypeaks, South Stirling and Pardelup, which contribute greatly to the rich biodiversity of the area. Threatened species recovery planning and implementation has benefited significant fauna and flora and communities.

There is much of cultural significance to Aboriginal people of the area, including the Stirling Range, where traditionally the Mineng and Goreng people lived - the range featured in many of their Dreamtime stories.

The fish traps at Oyster Harbour, the Kalgan River and Wilson Inlet are also highly important – South Coast NRM has helped manage some of these assets.

The sub-region boasts a diverse range of industries include agriculture, viticulture, silviculture, commercial fishing and tourism making up the majority. Environmental threats include: Phytophthora dieback, weeds, salinity, water repellence, nutrient run-off, human disturbance and feral animals.

Previous NRM projects have included environmental weed control, soil health, perennial pastures, Phytophthora dieback management, dryland farm forestry and water quality.

North Stirlings-Pallinup


LOCATED to the north of the Stirling Range in the western end of the South Coast NRM region, North-Stirlings-Palinup contains the townships of Gnowangerup, Borden and Ongerup and takes in the Upper Pallinup catchment and North Stirling basin.

The area receives about 400mm of rainfall per annum and its soils consist predominantly of three duplexes; grey deep sandy, alkaline grey shallow sandy and grey shallow sandy. Many soils are susceptible to sub-surface compaction and soil acidity, wind erosion, water logging, erosion and repellence.

Vegetation varies widely, with the northern sections of the sub-region consisting of predominantly mallee heath and eucalypt woodland with some swamp sheoak along river systems. The southern section mostly consists of mallee heath and jarrah-marri or wandoo woodlands.

The Stirling Range National Park contains the threatened montane heath and thicket community as well as other declared rare and priority flora species and 
is a recognised biodiversity hotspot containing more than 1,500 plants species, of which 90 are endemic, several endangered fauna species and short range endemic invertebrates. Other significant nature reserves include Camel Lake and Corackerup.

The rest of the sub-region is mostly cleared with less than 15 per cent of the original native vegetation remaining in the upper Pallinup area. There are 21 species of declared rare flora and 12 species of priority flora found in the remaining vegetation.

Industry in the sub-region comprises mixed farming with predominantly cereal cropping production to the north and east, with sheep grazing to the south west. Recreation and tourism is also prominent, with part of the Stirling Range National Park falling into the southern section of the sub-region.

Feral animals, soil health issues and human disturbance are major threatening processes. Phytophthora dieback is also a particular threat to the biodiversity of the national park with many parts already infested.

Several NRM projects have been funded via Southern Prospects 2011 - 2016 in the sub-region including activities aimed at mitigating soil health issues, establishing dryland farm forestry and perennial pastures, and controlling Phytophthora dieback in the national park.

Fitzgerald Biosphere


View of the Fitzgerald National Park.

THIS sub-region is centred on the Fitzgerald River National Park, a recognised biodiversity hotspot and also includes the Lake Magenta Nature Reserve and parts of the Dunn Rock and Lake King nature reserves.

The townships of Bremer Bay, Jerramungup, Ravensthorpe and Hopetoun lie within the region, which takes in part of the Pallinup River catchment and all of the Bremer, Gairdner, Fitzgerald, Hamersley, West, Phillips, Steere and Jerdacuttup river catchments.

The area is home to a diverse range of soil types from granite to several different loams and quartzite. Varying annual rainfalls, which average from 500mm per annum in the south to 325mm per annum in the north-east, has resulted in a wide variety of vegetation types. Coastal areas are dominated by heathland changing to mallee, while in the northern areas Yate woodlands are common.

Many endemic species exist in the Fitzgerald Biosphere including the royal hakea (Hakea victoria) and quaalup bell (Pimelea physodes) as well as a large number of banksia, verticordia and pea flowering species.

The Fitzgerald River National Park is one of only two locations in which the highly endangered western ground parrot can still be found, together with other threatened species including the dibbler, heath rat, woylie, hooded plover and tammar wallaby. The marine area is an important breeding and calving ground for southern right whales during migration.

Although the Fitzgerald River National Park has provided a safe haven for many susceptible flora, such as the banksia and verticordia species which are under direct threat from dieback in other parts of the South Coast NRM region. Phytophthora dieback is a significant danger to the park's flora with several infestations located in its boundaries.

Other threats include predation of native wildlife by feral animals, particularly foxes and cats, human disturbance and fire.

Agriculture in the area consists predominantly of winter cereal production and grazing. Wheat and barley are the main cereal crops grown in rotation with lupins, canola and subterranean or medic pasture.

Perennial pastures are grown at lower levels. Salinity, erosion and water repellence have been identified as threats to the industry of the sub-region.

Several NRM projects have been funded via Southern Prospects 2011 - 2016 to mitigate some of the threats relating to land degradation. These include activities relating to soil health, perennial pastures, weed and invasive species control and Phytophthora dieback management.

Esperance Sandplain


View of Cape La Grande National Park.

THE Esperance Sandplain, one of the two eastern-most sub-regions, is home to the townships of Munglinup and Condingup and the town of Esperanceand takes in the Oldfield-Munglinup, Young, Lort and Dalyup river catchments west of Esperance, while to the east are Coramup, Bandy and numerous other smaller creeks.

Rainfall ranges from more than 600mm per annum in the south to 400mm per annum in the north. Soils consist mostly of deep fine sandy deposits overlying yellow to grey siltstone and spongolite Eocene sediments. The soils sandy composition is susceptible to wind erosion and water repellence, while a shallow, clay subsoil in many areas results in water logging.

Agriculture consists of cropping and grazing. Wheat and barley are cropped in rotation with lupins, canola and subterranean or medic pastures. Livestock industries are also important and include beef cattle, wool production and prime lambs.

Tourism is another prominent industry, with the area offering many natural attractions including the Recherché Archipelago or Bay of Isles, consisting of around 100 islands which hold particular significance for Aboriginal people. The archipelago is a haven for rare flora and fauna including banksia, the Recherché cape barren goose, Australian sea-lions and whales.

The sub-region contains an abundance of native flora and fauna with many rare and endemic species. It has a suite of coastal nature reserves and national parks including Jerdacuttup Lakes and Lake Shaster nature reserves and the Stokes, Cape Le Grande and Cape Arid national parks, the latter is one of only two remaining locations in which the western ground parrot can be found.

Carnaby's black cockatoo and many beautiful wildflower species including the showy banksia (Banksia speciosa) and ashy hakea (Hakea cinerea), also exist here.

Rare flora and fauna can also be found at the internationally significant Lake Gore and Lake Warden, both listed as wetlands of international significance under the Ramsar Convention.

Lake Gore supports the largest known populations of hooded plover (Thinornis rubricollis) and is important for moulting by thousands of Australian shelduck (Tadorna tadornoides) and for drought refuge by thousands of other shorebirds. Lake Gore also supports large populations of banded stilt (Cladorhynchus leucocephalus).

Lake Warden is recognised as being a major biodiversity hotspot. This wetland system plays host to large populations of rare water birds including the hooded plover, Recherché cape barren goose and the banded stilt.

This and other wetland systems are at risk of inundation. Vegetation types in the catchment include sandplain heath, banksia heath, transitional mallee, paperbark and flat-topped yate swamps and sedgelands.

Noongar people maintain cultural links to Cape Arid, Cape Le Grand and Mt Ridley and the community is actively involved in natural resource management with coordination by Aboriginal NRM officers.

There are many threats to the sub-region's biodiversity and industry, including feral animals, loss of habitat, soil health issues and Phytophthora dieback.

Several NRM projects have been funded to increase soil health, establish perennial pastures, control invasive species, manage Phytophthora dieback, protect biodiversity and engage Aboriginal people of the area in NRM issues.

Esperance Mallee


Salmon gums (Eucalyptus salmonophloia) grow up to 30m in the Esperance Mallee sub-region. They have salmon-coloured bark in the summer months, changing to a white-grey or grey-brown during the winter.

ESPERANCE Mallee is located in the eastern section of the South Coast NRM region and includes the townships of Scaddan and Salmon Gums. Rainfall is low with approximately 300-400mm per annum.

The sub-region characteristically comprises a level to very gently inclined, internally drained landscape. Clusters of natural salt lake systems are common. Most of the Esperance Mallee sub-region has been cleared for agricultural use with very little of the pre-European vegetation remaining.

Vegetation comprises mostly eucalypt mallee with some eucalypt woodlands and melaleuca communities on clay soils. In sandstone areas proteaceous and myrtaceous scrub-heaths grow and in salt affected areas samphire swamps dominate.

The Great Western Woodland is a significant feature. It runs along the far eastern section of the Wheatbelt, into the Goldfields and across the western side of the Nullarbor Plain. The area is considered the world's largest and most intact temperate, or semi-arid, woodland and comprises a wonderful mosaic of forest, heaths, shrublands, sandplains, granite outcrops and natural salt lakes.

The sub-region also includes Peak Charles National Park and Cheadanup Nature Reserve and contains many rare flora and fauna species including salt myoporum (Myoporum turbinatum), the malleefowl (Eremophila lacteal), and Carnaby's black cockatoo. The vegetation of the gypsum dunes associated with some of the salt lakes are recognised as a threatened ecological community for the sub-region.

Industry is primarily agricultural, with extensive cereal cropping and wheat and barley being grown in rotation with canola, lupins, field peas and subterranean or medic pasture. Land north of Salmon Gums is considered to be mostly pastoral.

Threats to the sub-region include feral animal predation, habitat loss and soil health issues. NRM projects that have been funded in the Esperance Mallee sub-region include NRM engagement of Aboriginal people of the area and innovation in farm forestry.

Coastal and marine zone

Common-SeadragonThe common seadragon (Phyllopteryx taeniolatus) is a seahorse relation, but does not have a pouch for rearing its young. Instead, the male of the species carries eggs on the underside of its tail.

THE marine area of the South Coast NRM region extends from the coastline out to the three-nautical mile limit, including waters to three-nautical miles of offshore islands.

This coastal and marine zone comprises approximately 1 million ha of State Government responsibility and more than 1000 km of marine and coastal interface.

Coastal and marine areas are currently experiencing a high level of recreational usage and impact. The coastal zone is often dynamic and fragile with coastal sand dunes, wetlands and estuaries. These areas are highly valued by the community for their amenity values.

State marine waters extend to approximately 70 km off the mainland around Esperance, due to the extent of the Recherché Archipelago. At a broad scale, this marine area includes a range of major benthic habitats along the continental shelf.

These areas are directly influenced by the Leeuwin Current, localised hydrological variations and inputs such as river mouths. Global and local climatic conditions and Southern Ocean swell regimes affect the coastal and marine areas.

Major threats to the coastal zone include increased recreational use, including inappropriate use of off road vehicles.

Funding provided through Southern Prospects has included preparation and implementation of management plans, including installation of infrastructure and rehabilitation.

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Opening hours
Mon – Fri 9am – 3pm
Contact details:
Tel: (08) 9845 8537
Fax: (08) 9845 8538

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