Mr Redman said the Wilson Inlet and surrounding areas are under pressure from a range of factors including changing land uses, drying climate, development and nutrient loads as a result of a growing population.

‘The Inlet is a highly valued waterway and it is crucial that a comprehensive management plan is in place to protect its future,’ Mr Redman said.

WICC chair John Rodgers said the development of the strategy has been a huge collaborative effort.

“It was great to have so many organisations and local government at the launch showing their support and commitment to looking after the future health of the Wilson Inlet,’ Mr Rodgers said.

WIMS follows and builds on the Wilson Inlet Nutrient Reduction Action Plan (WINRAP) 2003, which established a plan to reduce algal coverage in the Wilson Inlet through a five-year program of nutrient reduction.

The 2003 plan was formulated due to concerns by the community that the inlet’s health was deteriorating. Through community consultation and the gathering of technical advice, the scope of WIMS was broadened.

The major pressures and threats affecting the health of the Wilson Inlet’s ecosystem were identified as (in no particular order)

  • Nutrient levels and nutrient cycling within the Inlet
  • Climate change
  • Development and infrastructure around the Inlet foreshore and surrounding areas
  • Changing land use within the catchment
  • Water competition
  • Soil acidity
  • Introduced invasive species including domestic animals
  • Diseases and pathogens
  • Fire

The key targets of WIMS are:

  • Reduction in nutrient concentrations from all catachment, rural and urban sources to achieve downward trend 
  • Protect and enhance biodiversity within the catchment
  • Water bodies fenced to prevent livestock access, including a 50 per cent increase in fencing of remaining unfenced water bodies from 2009 Wilson Inlet Catchment Committee (WICC) mapped fencing Develop mitigation plans for climate change
  • Plan and Implement better water resource use and reuse efficiency, including stormwater management and retrofit water efficiency
  • Waste water treatment plants to be utilising reuse options for treated waste water. For Denmark waste water treatment plant to commit to a plan to cease effluent discharge into the inlet. Waste water treatment plants to utilize efficient reuse.

The purpose of WIMS is to protect, maintain and where possible, enhance the ecological health of the inlet through a 10-year program of nutrient reduction, balancing water needs for all users of the Inlet and surrounding catchment as well as maintaining and where possible, enhancing habitat for native flora and fauna.