The Department of Water, Water Science Branch and Busselton office together with Geocatch, recently hosted the National Estuaries Network Science Forum on Barrier Estuaries with special focus on the Vasse Wonnerup System (VWWS) – a wetland of international significance.
Around 60 estuary managers, researchers and interested community members met in Busselton on May 20 to exchange information about the Vasse Strategy, science needs for estuary management and the current state of the VWWS.
Opening comments highlighted that aligned and collaborative sciences, supported by robust baseline level data are essential for effective decision-making.
Implementing the Vasse Strategy includes a restructure of governance arrangements, development of a business case to fund the strategy, reviewing the drainage infrastructure and continued catchment management interventions.
The history of flow and drainage modifications designed to protect Busselton from flooding were also shown to have contributed to the eutrophic conditions in the lower rivers and estuaries.
Advances in hydrological modelling and smarter engineering solutions are being investigated to achieve essential flood protection as well as better water quality by increased dilution of lowland river flows, helping to reduce nutrient concentrations and the undesirable expression of nuisance algal blooms and fish kills.
The connection with and potential impacts on the receiving water body – Geographe Bay were also explored.