Alfred Cove

A-Class Nature Reserve Number 35066 - Alfred Cove Nature Reserve - is situated adjacent to the suburbs of Attadale, Alfred Cove and Applecross and borders the Swan Estuary Marine Park. It has National Trust of Australia (WA) classification as ‘last remaining area of shoreline samphire and rush on the lower estuary’ and is one of the three remaining mudflat feeding grounds within the Swan Estuary.

The salt marsh and samphire flats at Alfred Cove have been federally listed as a Threatened Ecological Community

The site forms part of a Bush Forever Protection area - BFS331- which is regionally significant as a contiguous bushland/wetland linkage. It provides habitat for a large variety of water and bush birds and has world significance as a staging point for trans-equatorial migratory birds from as far as the Arctic Circle.

While much of the river’s edge has been filled with dredge spoil, and sections were once used as rubbish dumps, this special Reserve includes the only remaining area of largely unmodified sand and shell beds reaching back some 4,000 to 6,000 years.

Alfred Cove was one of the many Noongar camping sites and meeting areas along the foreshore. Known to the traditional custodians as ‘Marradungup’, it was a favourite meeting place as it was rich in fish, water fowl, shell fish and edible roots, and used for various ceremonial purposes. North Lake Road was originally an Aboriginal route between the River and various Beeliar wetlands and lakes.

The fringing vegetation ranges in condition along the foreshore, with some patches remaining in or having been restored to relatively good condition. Regrettably, there are few areas considered to be in pristine condition.

Some areas have become highly degraded as a result of proliferation of weeds, erosion, uncontrolled access, and vandalism in the form of the unorthorised and illegal removal of naturally regenerating vegetation and the poisoning and/or removal of new plantings.

Significant weeds include kikuyu, Typha orientalis and Brazilian Pepper.

Extensive areas lack important middle- and upper-storey vegetation.

The construction of a low wire fence along the border of a significant section of the Reserve has significantly reduced disturbance to birdlife and the trampling of vegetation, and has allowed for the success of some re-vegetation projects.

Before and After 

Since its inception, SERAG volunteers have worked in close collaboration with managing authories to improve the health and resilience of remnant riparian bushland in and around Alfred Cove, with some wondeful results. The removal of running grass weeds, such as kikuyu, as well as a plethora of woody weeds has enabled native vegetation to re-establish itself, providing wonderful habitat for birds and other native fauna.

   Before    After 

A principal achievement has been the installation of a wheel-chair accessible viewing platform to replace a dangerously situated park bench. This allows people to enjoy the natural values of the area, while at the same time protecting sensitive riparian vegetation and reducing disturbance to wildlife.

 Before  After 

SERAG has endorsed the Friends of Melville Bird Sanctuary in its endeavours to have the natural values of the site better recognised, protected and supported. 

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