Projects

General

Following guidelines for best-practice contained within documents such as the Department of Environment and Conservation’s (now the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attraction's) Swan Estuary Reserve Management Plan 1999 – 2009, volunteers from SERAG Inc. work steadily to improve the health of three very important areas that have been set aside by the wider community for the protection of flora and fauna - Milyu, Alfred Cove and Pelican Point - and adjacent areas of remnant bushland and marine parks.

Their existance reflects the Swan River Trust's research into community values:

  • The natural areas along the river are really important and should be retained (95.6%), and
  • It is acceptable for certain parts of the river foreshore to be closed off for the protection and rehabilitation of the natural environment (92.5%).

With the approval of DBCA and with the particular needs of each site in mind, Projects are developed and applications for funding from various government and non-government bodies prepared and submitted. Funding is generally used to support weed-management, for the purchase of appropriate sedges, shrubs and trees for re-vegetation, and for educative signage to inform the community of the ecological values of the areas and how to care for them. On occasions we may apply for funding for such infrastructure as viewing platforms or fencing to reduce human impact on sensitive areas.

Most grants must be matched by an equal contribution from the recipient - in our case in volunteer labour - so effectively the worth of a grant to the environment is doubled.

Grants are used to foster the resilience of the reserves to environmental and community pressures. As the reserves are relatively small and the pressures large, natural restoration processes are often thwarted, requiring support through various bushcare initiatives.

Community education projects are similarly important, and over the years SERAG has organised a number of community events and displays to celebrate and encourage community knowlege and appreciation of these special areas. For example, the 2017 National Science Week event at Point Walter was organised to draw community attention to the superb natural values of the River - in particular the beach-nesting and migratory birdlife that relies of the Estuary as habitat.

SERAG becomes conscientiously involved in community consultation processes associated with management planning and review, periodically organised by managing authorities. When the need arises, SERAG will actively engage in advocacy in support of or against a particular issue that we believe impacts on the well-being of the natural values of the Swan River Estuary. We also initiate and contribute to relevant research projects.

The support of our membership and other community volunteers is vital to the success of these initiatives. Partnerships are developed between SERAG Inc and corporate sponsors, or with other environmental or educational groups to support these projects. Over the past few years many hundreds of school children, university students and corporate volunteers have joined with SERAG to contribute many thousands of hours caring for these unique and beautiful parts of the Swan River Estuary. As well, Conservation Volunteers Australia has often generously allocated part of the sponsorship they receive to support our efforts.

Understanding the importance of the sites, volunteers have willingly weeded, planted, mulched, installed fencing and erosion-mitigation structures, watered new plantings over hot summers, conducted guided tours and collected litter. We recognise that this is not easy work, so we are extremely encouraged by and grateful for such support.

As part of an on-going care for each Reserve, different teams of volunteers meet weekly, fortnightly or monthly to devote a few hours to removing weeds such as fleabane and wild radish, collecting litter, planting or other appropriate seasonal activity.

Other volunteers are very welcome to join these teams, so please contact SERAG Inc. if you can help.

BEFORE & AFTER

The following photographs are a few examples only of SERAG's extensive efforts in protecting the ecological health and resilience of the three areas of Marine Park and associated A-Class Nature Reserves in the Swan River Estuary:

Current Projects

Alfred Cove

SERAG Inc. is supporting both the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions and the City of Melville to manage and restore large sections of the Alfred Cove A-Class Reserve and adjacent areas of remnant bushland - which together form part of Bush Forever Site 331 - through a regular commitment from volunteers and through particular projects for which we have sought funding.

We have just concluded a survey of the coastal saltmarsh community bordering the Marine Park

A 2017 grant through Coastwest is assisting us restore the very narrow margin of foreshore at the eastern end of Tompkins Park - a site abutting land used once as a rubbish dump and heavily degraded with a plethora of seasonal and woody weeds, including Typha orientalis and Brazilian Pepper.

Currently SERAG is extremely concerned with a proposal approved by the City of Melville to build an artificial surfing facility at Tompkins Park which will not only be detrimental to the existing natural values of the Marine Park and associated A-Class Nature Reserve but also preclude any future efforts to strengthen and restore their resilience. Hence we are engaged in strategies to both alert the wider community to the problem and advocate against the proposal, including Media Releases, a Petition and an Alternative Use Plan. 

Submission to CEO - City of Melville

Media Release 1

Wave Park Petition

Tompkins Park Alternate Plan

Media Release 2

Milyu

Over recent years SERAG Inc. has worked closely with DBCA to restore and strengthen this highly vulnerable A-Class Nature Reserve next to the Kwinana Freeway in South Perth.

SERAG is supporting a long-term project to address erosion at Milyu by assisting in planting activities. 

We conduct regular bushcare activities at the site, with an emphasis on monthly litter collections, as the site is exposed to rubbish from storm-water drains, freeway traffic and recreational boating and fishing.

Pelican Point

Funding has supported a long-term bushcare commitment to that part of Bush Forever Site 402 under the care of DBCA. This involves steadily replacing endemic weeds with native vegetation, installing matting planted with sedges to manage erosion from boat-wash and winter storms, and communication strategies to inform the wider community of the enormous importance of the Reserve.

Of critical importance has been the development of a comprehensive weed-management and bush-restoration plan that guides the steady improvement of  vegetation which provides habitat for both local and migratory birds.

Apart from its small size and general degradation, increasing human disturbance has a concerning impact on the well-being of this Reserve.There has recently been a large increase in the number of people, often with their unrestrained dogs, walking or jogging along the beach and up into the vegetation. Unfortunately they are not only disturbing resting and foraging birds, but are also accidentally treading on their nests, which may be simple shallows in the beach sand. Kite-surfers too, who inadvertently stray into the Reserve have significantly discouraged use of the beach by waders, who confuse them with large predatory birds.

Community information strategies and infrastructure improvements will hopefully help to redress this problem, as we are confident that it arises principally through a lack of public awareness.

We are fortunate to have developed close ties with students studying at the University of Western Australia, which is adjacent to Pelican Point. Monthly bushcare sessions are organised and well-attended by students.

Funding through the Swan Alcoa Landcare Program (SALP) has seen the steady improvement in the health of the vegetation and of the installation of a nesting platform for resident osprey. The platform was designed and constructed by local sculptor Tony Jones, using a light pole donated by DBCA. 

Artificial nesting boxes for micro-bats and pardalotes have been installed.

NRM and SALP funding are supporting current efforts.

Future Projects

As there is much to be done in the three A-Class Reserves in the Swan River Estuary, as well as in adjacent areas that impact on or support the health of the Reserves, SERAG Inc. will continue to facilitate restoration projects through the contribution of  volunteer work and the mobilization of other community resources.

To support our efforts during 2018/19 we have been fortunate to receive NRM and SALP Grants for Pelican Point and a Coastwest Grant for Alfred Cove.

A DBCA Community Rivercare Grant will support our work along the Attadale foreshore from June 2018 to June 2021.

Please consider devoting some time to supporting our work.