The Vasse-Wonnerup Wetlands System is a Ramsar listed site and a wetland of national importance. It supports over 37,500 water birds from 90 different species, over 30 fish species and the largest regular breeding colony of Black Swan in south-western Australia.
Efforts across the Geographe catchment over the last 10 years has led to water quality improvement in the catchment but the system still suffers from periodic water quality issues including algal blooms, noxious odours and fish kills.
There is a need to understand the main sources of nutrients in the system, and how they affect its ecosystem functioning. While our knowledge about the system has increased, there are still major knowledge gaps about this complex wetland and this limits wetland managers’ ability to improve management responses. This project aims at answering key management questions for the improvement of the Vasse-Wonnerup wetlands that we will rely on for future decision making.
In collaboration with agencies, local governments and leading researchers, SWCC has identified key knowledge gaps and management questions for the system and through funding from the Australian Government; SWCC has fostered a strong partnership with Murdoch and Edith Cowan University.
This collaborative research program being led by Murdoch University and Edith Cowan University is part of a larger multi-institutional and inter-disciplinary program, funded by the South West Catchments Council (SWCC) through funding by the Australian Government. The three PhD projects will advance our knowledge of the wetland’s function and structure, as well as community values, attitudes and perceptions towards the VWWS and its management. Importantly, whilst focussed on a single ecosystem, the integrative nature of these research projects will be broadly applicable to other estuaries and wetlands.
An official launch of the VWWS Investigation Node will take place in March 2015.