A coordinated approach across six estuaries

Launched in April 2016, the Regional Estuaries Initiative is a $20 million Royalties for Regions funded state government program to restore the function and improve the health of six estuaries in the South West (Peel-Harvey Estuary, Leschenault Estuary, Vasse-Wonnerup Estuary, Hardy Inlet, Wilson Inlet and Oyster Harbour).

This is the biggest single investment the state government has ever made in managing the health of Western Australia’s regional estuaries. This funding will be supported by contributions and in-kind support from regional catchment groups, local governments and industry partners.

Led by the Department of Water, the Initiative will fund a range of on-ground works, including soil and water testing, farm effluent management upgrades, fencing, revegetation and drainage, as well as new science and modelling, regional capacity, employment and training.

Our estuaries are under stress from a combination of:

  • a drying climate, reduced rainfall and water flow
  • a growing population
  • historical land use
  • intensified agriculture and
  • growing urbanisation.

The Regional Estuaries Initiative drives action in catchments to improve water quality and restore the environmental balance of estuaries. The five strategies of the Regional Estuaries Initiative provide on-ground works and creates the science needed for informed decision-making.

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Why estuaries?

Regional estuaries support regional development, tourism, recreational and commercial fishing and port activities.

The program is supported by co-investments from regional catchment groups, local governments and industry partners. An additional $15 million (including $7.15 million Royalties for Regions funding) is dedicated to the Vasse Geographe Strategy.

The Regional Estuaries Initiative will coordinate and implement common actions across the at-risk estuaries, building regional capability, promoting whole-of-industry engagement, and strengthening cooperative networks to share resources and knowledge.

The Department of Water and our partners have over 20 years experience and scientific understanding of estuary science and conditions. This knowledge has been used to shape the practical solutions and management tools that make up the Regional Estuaries.