Reducing runoff and silt loads impacting the Shark Bay WHA

Climate change—resulting in more frequent flooding of the Wooramel River that leads into Shark Bay World Heritage Area (WHA)—may threaten the unique environment. This project will focus on terrestrial remediation work to reduce the runoff and silt loads that have the potential to impact Shark Bay. We are working with catchment managers to improve land practices is critical to minimise runoff events.

The Shark Bay WHA covers approximately 2.2 million hectares, and is of international significance, having been inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1991. The Shark Bay WHA contains areas of exception natural beauty with diverse land and seascapes. It has significant examples of geological processes, and ongoing ecological and biological evolution such as the two-billion years old stromatolites at Hamelin Pool. It also contains the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing a number of rare and threatened species with many others at the limit of their range.

We will address terrestrial threats from both pastoral properties and the conservation estate that contribute to the immediate runoff zone into Shark Bay. Remedial work on these properties will also improve the broader catchment and assist in the conservation of the stromatolites, the Wooramel seagrass bank, Faure Sill and the region’s significant biotic communities.

Three pastoral leases: Hamelin Station, Wooramel Station and Carey Downs Station will be involved in this project and have up to five days with a soil conservation/ecological expert onsite to conduct recommended erosion control measures. Hamelin Station will also conduct a workshop with the Malgana Community and provide the remediation works as a training exercise for them.

This project is funded by the Australian Government’s Australian Heritage Grants Program.