Wetlands Conference2021 WA Annual Wetland Management Conference

‘Celebrating World Wetlands Day and
50th anniversary of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands’


Day 1: Pre-conference tours and sundowner, Monday 15th March 2021

Field trips exploring the Ramsar-listed Peel-Yalgorup Wetland System, Site 482
PHCC's Dandjoo Gabi Wonga Sundowner at The Mandurah Performing Arts Centre, WA

Day 2: Conference Day, Tuesday 16th March 2021

The Mandurah Performing Arts Centre, WA


The Wetlands Centre Cockburn invites registrations for its 17th Annual WA Wetland Management Conference to be held adjacent to Mandjar Bay at the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre (ManPAC), Mandurah on Tuesday 16th March 2021 in celebration of World Wetlands Day, which commemorates the signing of the Convention on Wetlands in the Iranian city of Ramsar on 2 February 1971.


The primary objective of the Conference is to provide an annual opportunity for the exchange of information and ideas between wetland practitioners with a focus on the latest developments about how to effectively manage and restore wetlands. The Conference is intended to bring together community conservation volunteers, landowners, educators, local and State Government officers and private sector environmental officers involved with wetland management.


Celebrating 50 years! 2nd February 2021 marks 50 years since the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands was first signed, in the city of Ramsar. In recognition of this important milestone The Wetlands Centre has extended its World Wetland Day celebration over 2 days incorporating pre-conference wetland tours and linking with the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council and partners’ sundowner event. The 2-day event has been made possible by the generous support of our sponsors.


This year’s theme follows the Ramsar theme for 2021 of ‘Wetlands and Water’. This year’s theme shines a spotlight on wetlands as a source of freshwater and encourages actions to restore them and stop their loss. We are facing a growing freshwater crisis that threatens people and our planet. We use more freshwater than nature can replenish, and we are destroying the ecosystem that water and all life depend on most – Wetlands. The 2021 campaign highlights the contribution of wetlands to the quantity and quality of freshwater on our planet. Water and wetlands are connected in an inseparable co-existence that is vital to life, our wellbeing and the health of our planet.

Sub-themes include wetland management and restoration, wetland education and wetland policy.


Minimising impact The conference strives to minimise its environmental impact by encouraging delegates to carpool and bring their own water bottles. We also provide re-usable coffee mugs, glasses and plates, produce

e-program booklets and use recycled paper. We also encourage the display of promotional material on common tables or at exhibition spaces, rather than in conference kits, ensuring only interested persons take the relevant material.


A Conference Steering Committee assists The Wetland Centre's Conference Organiser. The 2021 Committee includes staff and volunteer representatives from the following community, local and State Government organisations: City of Cockburn; The Wetlands Centre Cockburn; Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions; State Wetlands Coordinating Committee; Western Australian Local Government Association and Wetlands Conservation Society Inc.




Registration fees

Registrations for the conference are now open. The 2021 fee structure will be:

Day 1 – Monday 15th March 2021
» Pre-conference tours:   $10 per tour (maximum of 2 tours)
» PHCC's Dandjoo Gabi Wonga Sundowner:   Free (See event details below)

Day 2 – Tuesday 16th March 2021
» Corporate registration:   $80 (paid or reimbursed by your employer)
» General registration:   $65 (Registration fee not reimbursed by your employer)
» Concessional registration:   $40 (for unwaged or pensioners)

Registrations close 
Friday 12 March 2021.

Registrations Visit https://2021_wa_wetland_management_conference.eventbrite.com.au



Conference Program

Day 1 Pre-conference tours and sundowner, Monday 15th March 2021
Tour 1: Estuary boat tour and Creery Wetlands guided nature walk
Presenters: Dr Steve Fisher, Program Manager, Science and Waterways, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council

                     Dr Vicky Stokes, WA Program Manager, BirdLife Australia

                     Sarah Way, Owner/Operator, Ways to Nature

                     Natalie Goddard, Estuary Guardians Mandurah

Location: Boarding will take place on the jetty directly out the front of the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre, 9 Ormsby Terrace, Mandurah WA 6210.

            AM Tour: 9.30am – 12.30pm

            PM Tour: 2.00pm – 5.00pm

             Registered delegates should arrive at least 15-30 minutes early to board the Dancing Dolphin

What better way to spend a Monday than out on the Peel-Yalgorup Ramsar wetland! Attendees will enjoy a boat tour along the Peel-Harvey Estuary on board the Dancing Dolphin. Tour guides, Dr Vicki Stokes from BirdLife Australia and Science Advisor, Dr Steve Fisher, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council will share with you stories about the abundant wildlife and wetland environment. Binoculars will be provided and your tour guides will be on standby to help spot the local wildlife including dolphins and wetland birds. Attendees will experience the Ramsar listed wetland from the water before docking at Mariners Cove to explore the Creery Wetlands on foot and enjoy a nature walk led by local Zoologist, Sarah Way, Ways to Nature. Jump back aboard the Mandurah Cruises vessel as the sun begins to set over the wetlands and enjoy some refreshments.
Tour 2: Lake Clifton thrombolites (Woggaal’s Noorook): Science and cultural tour
Presenters: George Walley, Owner/Director, Mandjoogoordap Dreaming
Rick James, Coordinator, Wetlands Science and Management, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council
Michael Venarsky, Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions
Location: Bus departure will take place in the car park at the rear of the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre, 9 Ormsby Terrace, Mandurah WA 6210.

            AM Tour: 9.30am – 12.00noon

            PM Tour: 1.30pm – 4.00pm

            Registered delegates should arrive at least 15-30 minutes early to board the bus

The Lake Clifton thrombolites (Woggaal’s Noorook) are the oldest known living bacterial life form, surviving after millions of years of existence. This rare and endangered natural feature is also significant in how local Aboriginal culture has interpreted this location in its Creation Beliefs. Cultural knowledge and positive memories are part of the experience that your host, George Walley of Mandjoogoordap Dreaming, would like to share from this special place.

George will be joined by Peel-Harvey Catchment Council’s Coordinator Wetlands Science and Management, Rick James. Learn about Lake Clifton’s thrombolites – what they are, the key threats they face, and the work being undertaken to understand and protect them. Rick will discuss current research projects around the thrombolites and the questions keeping scientists up at night, like how do we know whether thrombolites are alive or not, and how this Threatened Ecological Community is affected by a drying climate and increasing salinity of the lake.

Dandjoo Gabi Wonga Sundowner
Venue: Mandurah Performing Arts Centre, 9 Ormsby Terrace, Mandurah WA
Time: 5.30pm onwards
Peel-Harvey Catchment Council and partners Dandjoo Gabi Wonga (Meeting place of the waterways story) – a sundowner to celebrate World Wetlands Day and the 50th Anniversary of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands will be celebrated in style with arts, local food, and special ‘Ramsar Soapbox’ sessions featuring stories of the wetlands and the people working to protect. Registered delegates and community members will receive separate instructions. 
Other options
Conference delegates are encouraged to come and stay in Mandurah and enjoy Mandurah and the Peel region’s many attractions. Visit our website at www.thewetlandscentre.org.au/wetlands-conference  to see the destination guide for information about the region and a range of accommodation options.
Day 2 Conference Program, Tuesday 16th March 2021
(*Denotes speaker, where there are multiple authors)
8.00am Registrations (come early for a cuppa and catch up with other wetlanders)
9.00am Opening remarks
Emeritus Professor Philip Jennings, Wetlands Conservation Society Inc
9.10am Welcome to country
George Walley, Mandjoogoordap Dreaming
SESSION 1 Chairperson: Linda Metz, City of Cockburn
Keynote presentation
9.20am Caring for our Ramsar 482 Wetlands: values, threats and actions
*Dr Steve Fisher, Rick James, Sharon Meredith, Charlie Jones, Mike Griffiths, Jennie Beeson, Johanne Garvey, Jesse Rowley and Kim Wilson, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council
Plenary presentations 1
9.50am A linked-up collaborative management approach to restoring Ramsar 482
Johanne Garvey, *Mike Griffiths, Jesse Rowley, Rick James and Steve Fisher, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council
10.04am The Yalgorup Lakes – A baseline characterisation to inform future management
*Rick James and Jennie Beeson, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council
10.17am Wetlands and People: A catchment scale approach to community engagement in the Peel-Yalgorup Ramsar System
Charlie Jones*, Sharon Meredith, Johanne Garvey, Jesse Rowley and Kim Wilson, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council
Poster presentations 1
10.30am Re-Imagining Wetlands in Perth: recreating our wetland landscape in the Perth-Peel region through historical photographs and maps
Tracy de Vetter, NatureLink Perth, Murdoch University
10.35am The Black Bream Stock Enhancement Project: Pilot Programs don’t follow the rules!
John Tonkin College Teachers *Barbara Sing, *Amanda Zele and *Year 9 students
10.40am Morning tea
SESSION 2 Chairperson: Dr Michael Coote, Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions
Plenary presentations 2
11.20am Voicing Wetlands: Celebrating Living Relationships of Love and Care
Adjunct Professor Anne Poelina1, Professor Len Collard2, *Professor Pierre Horwitz3, Professor Laurie Guimond4 and Associate Professor Sandra Wooltorton1

1Nulungu Research Institute, University of Notre Dame, Broome

2School of Indigenous Studies, University of Western Australia, Dalkeith

3School of Science, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup

4School of Geography, University of Quebec a Montreal

11.40am Wetland Challenges and Opportunities in the Lake Muir-Unicup and Upper Kent catchments
*Geoff Evans1 and Basil Schur2

1Denmark Environment Centre

2Green Skills

12 noon Partnering to Protect our Waterways
*Bonnie Beal Richardson1, *Robyn Bickell2, Kirstin Field3, *Natalie Goddard4, *Charlie Jones5, Sally Kirby6, *Sharon Meredith7, Krista Nicholson8, *Ash Ramm9 and *Barb Sing10

1City of Mandurah

2Mandurah Volunteer Dolphin Rescue

3Coastal Waste Warriors

4Mandurah Cruises

5Peel-Harvey Catchment Council

6Mandurah Volunteer Dolphin Rescue


8Murdoch University

9Tackle World Miami

10Estuary Guardians

Poster presentations 2
12.20pm Diatoms and algal blooms: evaluating the success of an additive designed to control noxious blue-green algal blooms in urban wetlands
Syngeon Rodman and *Jess Delaney, Biologic Environmental Survey
12.25pm Saint Leonards Creek: What’s in our backyards?
*Alison McGilvray1, *Michelle Crow1 and Melinda McAndrew2

1Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Rivers and Estuaries Branch

2City of Swan

12.30pm Soldiers Cove Water Wise Wetland
Dale Robinson, City of Mandurah, Peel Harvey Catchment Council and Department of Water and Environmental Regulation
12.35pm Update on Australian Government Wetland Management Activities
Alex Tomlinson, Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
12.40pm Lunch
SESSION 3 Chairperson: Bob Pond, Department of Water and Environmental Regulations
Plenary presentations 3
1.40pm Community, Local Government and funding bodies working together to restore wetlands of the Derbarl Yerrigan
*Alex Devine1 and *David Dyke2

1City of Bayswater

2Friends of Bardon Park Wetland

2.00pm The Lake Richmond Thrombolites: an assessment of thrombolite health and their sensitivity to herbicides
Rory Garven, City of Rockingham
2.20pm Bindjareb Gabi Wonga – Bindjareb Water Story
*George Walley1 and *Bronte Grant2

1Mandjoogoordap Dreaming

2Department of Water and Environmental Regulation

Poster presentations 3
2.40pm Rehydration trials to identify resident flora and fauna from ephemeral wetlands and creeks
*Kim Nguyen, Syngeon Rodman, Jess Delaney, Biologic Environmental Survey
2.45pm Resident bottlenose dolphins occupying the Ramsar-listed Peel-Harvey Estuary and how they face risks from live stranding events and entanglements in fishing gear
Krista Nicholson, PhD Candidate, Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Ecosystems, Harry Butler Institute, Murdoch University
2.50pm Closing remarks
Tom Perrigo, Chairperson, The Wetlands Centre Cockburn
2.55pm Afternoon tea
Workshop concurrent session
3.15pm Workshop Session

WORKSHOP CHOICES (choice of 1 workshop)

Delegates can attend one workshop during the concurrent session. Please select two preferences from the following five workshops and number from 1 to 2 on the registration form (1 equals your highest preference). Workshops will be filled on a first-come basis following registration.

Workshop 1: How can Ecotourism create an enhanced appreciation of wetland environments?
Presenters:  Jamie Van Jones and Sebastion ‘Base’ Jones, Co-Directors, Salt and Bush Eco Tours
Location: Alcoa Mandurah Art Gallery
How can Ecotourism find a balance in creating an appreciation for our wetland environments, while limiting the impacts of tourism on these fragile ecosystems? Hear from a local ecotourism operator how they are showcasing the Peel-Harvey Wetlands while trying to educate and protect them at the same time.

This workshop will cover the ways in which wetlands are perceived by the general public and how science communication, education and eco-tourism can change these perceptions for the better. It will also cover the pro’s and con’s of tourism in wetlands and the hurdles that can be faced when operating in fragile environments.

Workshop 2: Turtle Tracking in the City of Cockburn - Where to next?
Presenters: Rafeena Boyle, Environmental Education Officer, Environmental Services, City of Cockburn; Vicky Hartill, Environmental Education Officer, City of Cockburn   
Location: Dance Studio
To reduce mortality rates in Bibra Lake’s native turtle population, in 2019 the City of Cockburn in partnership with Murdoch University, Parks & Wildlife Services, Native ARC and The Wetlands Centre, Cockburn launched the Turtle Trackers citizen science program to help protect nesting females, their nests and eggs during the peak of the nesting season.

Following two seasons, the program is sparking interest from nearby councils, land management groups and the broader community, but to roll the program out to other lakes some changes to its current structure will be needed.

In this workshop we will discuss the pros and cons of the 2019 & 2020 Turtle Tracker program, the challenges facing its roll out beyond Bibra Lake, and workshop different scenarios for future management of this program.

Workshop 3:  Developing a biodiversity database for Reserve management
Presenters: Judy Fisher PhD, Ethical, Independent Socio-Ecologist, Director, Fisher Research Pty Ltd, Twitter @judithfish, Elected Member IPBES Multidisciplinary Expert Panel IUCN, Commission on Ecosystem Management

Theme Leader: Ecosystems and Invasive Species, Research Associate Western Australian Museum, Adjunct Institute of Agriculture University of Western Australia
Eryn Jackson, Senior Environmental Management Officer, City of Mandurah
Cory Kennedy, Environmental Management Officer, City of Mandurah
Assisted by Bonita Begley, City of Mandurah 

Location: Fishtrap Theatre
The City of Mandurah has been utilising the IUCN Ecosystems and Invasive Species Thematic Group’s best practice approach to the management and restoration of Reserves. Using this approach, the City has implemented plans across 18 Reserves including several adjacent to the Peel-Harvey Estuary Ramsar Site.

Using a mobile mapping application, we establish “polygons” (or “areas”) with the same weed cover value using 5 categories. We then record the native and weed species present within each area. The information recorded in the field is incorporated directly from the mapping application into a Geographic Information System (GIS), which can be used by land managers, traditional owners and others to make informed decisions on where and how to manage weed species and restore ecosystems.

Post management, we return to the “polygons” and again record the weed cover value and weed and native species present. We can measure ecological change, both by weed cover value and weed species present over time. In addition, we keep a record of funds spent in managing and or restoring that area, including volunteer time, and make a calculation to understand how successful our weed work has been.

This “Success Indicator” is based on the ecological change and the economic investment in the area. With this Success Indicator, we have a highly effective understanding of our weed management and restoration and are able to adapt our approaches based on a quantitative understanding of how effective our management has been.

The workshop will outline to participants the approach used, including an interactive demonstration of the mapping application, and transfer of data into the GIS system and how this biodiversity dataset is guiding the management of the City of Mandurah Reserves.

The workshop will be highly interactive with the aim of guiding those who wish to utilise this approach in the restoration and management of their wetlands, Ramsar sites and TEC’s. There will be ample time for discussion and explanation of the benefits of this approach to management and restoration.

Workshop 4: Migratory Shorebird Conservation – We can all play a role  
Presenter:  Dr Vicki Stokes, WA Program Manager, BirdLife Australia
Location: Boardwalk Theatre
Shorebirds are mostly associated with wetlands and are an important indicator of their health and productivity. They are a diverse group of elegant birds, some of which carry out the most amazing migrations in the natural world. Unfortunately, due to ongoing declines, they are one of the most threatened groups of birds globally. This workshop will introduce participants to tips for identifying different groups of shorebirds, the types of habitats used by shorebirds and how to identify important sites. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about and discuss threats to shorebirds and ideas for addressing the impacts of recreational disturbance.
NB: On Sunday 31st January 2021, teams of volunteers took part in the National Shorebird Monitoring Program’s annual shorebird count at various sites around the Peel-Yalgorup System. If you would like to learn more about this citizen science program, please contact Charlie at charlie.jones@peel-harvey.org.au
4.15 pm Post-conference drinks and nibbles
This Program may be subject to some changes prior to or during the conference.
Please help the environment – bring your own water bottle!


If you wish to get in touch with us, our contact information is:

The Wetlands Centre Cockburn

184 Hope Road Bibra Lake WA 6163

T    08 9417 8460

M   0412 081 540 (Denise Crosbie)
M   0404 034 113 (Danielle Tyrls)

E   community@thewetlandscentre.org.au


A Peel Harvey Catchment Council Event

Dandjoo Gabi Wonga Sundowner

Free Event – Bookings Essential!

Please join us for Dandjoo Gabi Wonga (meeting place of the waterways story), a community celebration of World Wetlands Day and the 50th Anniversary of the signing of the international Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.

Download the flyer for the Dandjoo Gabi Wonga sundowner here.

Stay in Mandurah!

Destination Guide

  • A range of accommodation is available close to Mandurah Performing Arts Centre to suit your needs and budget, including hotels, self-contained apartments, caravan and camping, bed and breakfasts and forest cabins. An accommodation guide is available on the Visit Mandurah website here: www.visitmandurah.com/accommodation
  • Conference delegates are encouraged to come and stay in Mandurah and enjoy Mandurah and the Peel region’s many attractions. See the destination guide for information about the region.


We would like to thank and acknowledge the generous support of sponsors, that ensure registration fees are kept to a minimum to enable all sectors of the community to attend. If your organisation would like to consider sponsoring the conference please contact us or view our Sponsorship Opportunities.

Major Sponsors

Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsor

Bronze Sponsor