Award-winning waterways program a Budget winner

Sophie ElliottBusselton Dunsborough Times

Busselton’s award-winning Revitalising Geographe Waterways program will receive $1.6 million in next week’s State Budget, allowing it to continue in to 2020.

Water Minister Dave Kelly announced the program, which was due to finish its four-year, State-funded run in June, had been extended to ensure water quality improvements and nutrient reductions in the Geographe catchment could continue under the supervision of the interagency Vasse Taskforce.

There has been a significant reduction in nutrients in 75 per cent of Geographe waterways since the program's inception in 2015.

Improved fertiliser management over the last 10 years has also contributed to 2,000 kilograms a year of less phosphorous entering the Vasse Wonnerup wetlands and Geographe Bay.

GeoCatch chair Felicity Bradshaw and Water Minister Dave Kelly plant trees at the Vasse Diversion Drain.
Camera IconGeoCatch chair Felicity Bradshaw and Water Minister Dave Kelly plant trees at the Vasse Diversion Drain.

Mr Kelly said the continued monitoring of the Vasse Wonnerup wetlands and priority waterways was crucial to identifying key ecosystem features and threats.

“I’m really pleased to see the work that has been done in this area,” he said.

“The amount of community engagement has been incredible and the results that have been achieved to date, in regards to reducing nutrients going into the catchment and waterways, has been really been impressive.

“To now have 2,000 kilograms of phospohorus less flowing into Geographe Bay than before, just shows what you can do when you really engage the community and industry.”

Revitalising Geographe Waterways project manager Dr Kath Lynch said the funding extension was an endorsement of program’s success in improving water quality.

“This is very exciting for us as it means we can continue the work we have been doing for the last four years,” she said.

“This is particularly important as we have really altered the management of the Vasse Wonnerup system, so having another year to do some really intense monitoring of the ecology, to make sure that is all in check, is great.”

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