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 chemical spraying of endemic weeds, for the purchase of appropriate seedling 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 theworth of the 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, SERAG Inc. volunteers are often complemented by teams from Conservation Volunteers Australia, which has generously allocated part of the sponsorship they receive to support our efforts.

Understanding the importance of the sites, they have willingly weeded, planted, mulched, installed fencing and ersion-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.

Current Projects

Alfred Cove

SERAG Inc. is supporting both the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions and the City of Melville in various projects to 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.

In 2016 we received a Government of Western Australia Community Action Grant through the  Natural Ressource Management Program to support weed-management in Bush Forever Site 331and were fortunate to secure a generous amount of $24,200.00.

With this support weed-management efforts during 2016 and 2017 have been directed to removing large swathes of Typha orientalis, stands of Brazilian Pepper Date Palms and feral Olive, Giant Reed, Black Flag, Pampas Grass and running grasses from the site, replacing these weeds with a variety of indigenous vegetation species. Seasonal weeds such as Wild Radish, Fleabane, Fumaria and Veldt will also be targetted.

The NRM Grant will also help us manage a storm water outfall feeding directly into the Marine Park and foreshore areas particularly impacted by erosion.

Part of the site once bordered a rubbish tip, so, as well as stabilising the river embankment and creating habitat for a diversity of bush and water birds, newly planted vegetation will be important in filtering nutrients and contaminants from water seeping into the Estuary.

Erosion mitigation strategies are being steadily implemented at various sensitive locations along the River foreshore.

We are also working to restore and strengthen an important area of remnant vegetation near Troy Park. Comprised mainly of Melaleuca rhaphiophylla and Eucalyptus rudis with an understorey of sedges, this forms some of the last remaining of this type of woodland in the Region.

A recent grant through Coastwest will assist SERAG in restoring the very narrow margin of foreshore at the eastern end of Tompkins Park in 2018.

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. 

https://www.cushycms.com/temporary_uploads/163533/SERAG Submission - to City of Melville re wave park proposal.pdf

https://www.cushycms.com/temporary_uploads/163533/MEDIA RELEASE.pdf

https://www.cushycms.com/temporary_uploads/163533/WAVE PARK PETITION.pdf

https://www.cushycms.com/temporary_uploads/163533/Tompkins Park Alternate Plan.pdf

https://www.cushycms.com/temporary_uploads/163533/MEDIA RELEASE 2.pdf

Milyu

Over recent years SERAG Inc. has worked closely with the City of South Perth and DPaW to restore this highly degraded Reserve next to the Kwinana Freeway in South Perth.

SERAG is supporting a long-term project to address erosion at Milyu, and has commenced the strengthening of riparian vegetation bordering the Marine Park south of the Nature Reserve. 

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

Currently we are engaged with the Swan River Trust and BirdLife WA in a reseach project that aims to support beach-nesting shorebirds using Milyu and Pelican Point as habitat. 

Pelican Point

Significant funding has allowed us to commence a long-term bushcare strategy for 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 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. 

As mentioned above, we are currently engaged in a reserach project in support of beach-nesting shorebirds at this site.

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 2017/18 we have been fortunate to receive a SALP Grant (for Pelican Point) and a Coastwest Grant (for Alfred Cove).

Please consider devoting some time to supporting our work.