Rangelands NRM Blog, News & Resources

Fencing protects Ramsar wetlands at Eighty mile beach

Each month, we will be focusing on a successful project that was funded by the State NRM office last year. This month, we look at protecting Ramsar wetlands by erecting a fence to guard 80 mile beach from cattle.

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The establishment of approximately 64 km of fencing to exclude cattle from the coastal habitats of 80 Mile Beach is helping to protect an important Ramsar listed site in the North of WA near Broome.

The project, funded by the State NRM office and coordinated by Greening Australia WA and the Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW), is facilitating the completion of the total fencing off of the coastal boundary of the Ramsar site at Eighty Mile Beach, protecting approximately 170 000 hectares.

Greening Australia Program Manager Pilbara, Mike Clark said cattle have been grazing these habitats for many years causing widespread degradation of coastal dune vegetation.

“The exclusion of cattle will reduce of impacts of grazing pressure on vegetation and the deleterious effects of trampling,” Mr Clark said.

The fencing is on the boundary of Wallal Downs Pastoral lease (owned by BHPBIO) and the proposed State Government-managed 80 Mile Beach Marine Park, which is also a Ramsar site.

This work has been done in conjunction with the pastoral managers, and an ongoing maintenance strategy has also been developed.

The fencing was completed with a fencing contractor utilising Nyangumarta workers from the local Bidyadanga community.

Five monitoring sites have been established to ensure the fence is maintained and that cattle do not breach its boundary.

More about Eighty Mile Beach

Eighty Mile Beach located in the Shire of Broome and includes beaches from Cape Missiessy to Cape Keraudren and the Mandora Salt Marsh.

The vulnerable Bilby is found within the Mandora Salt Marsh and the vulnerable Flatback Turtle regularly nest at scattered locations along the Eighty Mile Beach and another 150-200,000 use it for migratory purposes. Migratory shorebirds use the site including three EPBC listed birds; and several threatened flora.