The coastline of the South Coast region is spectacular, extending for approximately 1,000 kilometres and encompassing a great diversity of landforms and marine environments. Offshore islands provide critical habitat, breeding and resting sites for many species of seabirds including albatross, petrels, shearwaters, penguins and the endangered Cape Barren goose, as well as the Australian sea lion and New Zealand fur seal.
The coastal environments of the South Coast region include a high proportion of native vegetation which form a priority east-west corridor linking areas of high conservation value. The coastal reserves represent very significant habitat refuges and Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve, Cape Arid and Fitzgerald National Parks are important for unique and threatened species and communities, including Gilbert’s Potoroo, Dibbler and the Western Ground Parrot.
The coastal corridor includes threatened flora including the nationally protected Threatened Ecological Communities, known as the Subtropical and Temperate Coastal Saltmarshand Proteaceae Dominated Kwongkan Shrubland, of the southeast coastal floristic province of Western Australia. At least 7 of the 10 priority ecological communities occurring in the South Coast coastal corridor are in decline and in need of ongoing protection.
All coastal environments are part of a fragile but dynamic ecosystem, they are threatened by Phytophthora Dieback,(link to Phytophthora project page) aerial canker, the impactsfrom recreational use, grazing, inappropriate fire regimes, changes to hydrology and the introduction of pest plant and animal species.
South Coast NRM is committed to protecting and restoring our coastal and marine environments which are threatened from predicted sea level and temperature rises and increases in ocean acidification.
We are working closely with the South Coast Management Group which promotes best practice coastal management along approximately 1000 km of the coastline and marine environments out to 3 nautical miles from the low tide mark. SCMG work together with WA State Government Departments and local organisations.
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Coastscapes Coastal Corridor
The Coastscapes Coastal Corridor project led by South Coast NRM and delivered with over 20 project partners, is a new approach to coastal protection and restoration in the South Coast NRM region and Western Australia. The project aimed to protect and enhance the 512 km long coastal macro corridor made up of the Two Peoples Bay to Fitzgerald corridor and Fitzgerald to Cape Arid corridor.
Bringing Oysters Back to Oyster Harbour
Oyster reefs were once a thriving and abundant part of the Oyster Harbour underwater seascape, providing habitat for fish, filtering water and capturing nutrients. Sadly, like in many bays and estuaries across Australia, Oyster Harbour’s abundant oyster reefs have been lost.
Oysters play an important role in the health of the waterways they are found in. In November 2015, breeding Flat Oysters were collected from Oyster Harbour and taken to the shellfish hatchery near Whale World in Albany. Around 40,000 baby oysters were produced, and settled onto a variety of shells. These juveniles were then transferred back into Oyster Harbour, where they were placed onto commercial leases to feed and grow.
The Nature Conservancy is now working to establish significant areas of native Flat Oyster within Oyster Harbour.
Protecting our Shorebirds
Seabirds and marine mammals are considered to be reliable indicators of marine health, due to their top order predator status and reliance on marine resources. Factors influencing the decline in bird populations over the past 20 years may include contamination, loss of habitat and breeding sites, extreme weather events, plastic ingestion, fisheries competition and pest species.