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 1st February 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 2nd February 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 2nd February 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 1st February 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 2nd February
» 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 25 January 2021.

Registrations Visit https://2021_wa_wetland_management_conference.eventbrite.com.au
Registrations close Friday 25 January 2021.



Conference Program

Day 1 Pre-conference tours and sundowner, Monday 1 February 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


Location: Boarding will take place on the jetty directly out the front of the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre,

9 Ormsby Terrace, Mandurah WA 6210.

Times: choice of 2 x repeat tours

            AM Tour: 9.30am – 12.30pm

            PM Tour: 2.00pm – 5.00pm

            Delegates should arrive at least 15 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

Location: Bus departure will take place in the carpark at the rear of the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre,

9 Ormsby Terrace, Mandurah WA 6210.

Times: choice of 2 x repeat tours

            AM Tour: 9.30am – 12.00noon

            PM Tour: 1.30pm – 4.00pm

            Delegates should arrive at least 15 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 have 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
Conference delegates and community members are invited to join Peel-Harvey Catchment Council and partners for Dandjoo Gabi Wonga (Meeting place of the waterways story) – a sundowner to celebrate World Wetlands Day and the 50th Anniversary of the international Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. Celebrate in style with arts, local food, and special ‘Ramsar Soapbox’ sessions featuring stories of the wetlands and the people working to protect them.


Other options
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 and a range of accommodation options.


Day 2 Conference Program, Tuesday 2 February 2020
(*Denotes speaker, where there are multiple authors)
8.00am Registrations (come early for a cuppa and catchup with other wetlanders)
9.00am Opening remarks
Emeritus Professor Philip Jennings, Wetlands Conservation Society Inc
Welcome to country
George Walley, Mandjoogoordap Dreaming
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, Jo 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, Jo 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 though historical photographs and maps
Tracy de Vetter, NatureLink Perth,
10.35am The Black Bream Stock Enhancement Project: Pilot Programs don’t follow the rules!
John Tonkin College Teachers Barbara Sing, Amanda Zele and students
10.40am Morning tea
Plenary presentations 2
11.20am The Lake Richmond Thrombolites: an assessment of thrombolite health and their sensitivity to herbicides
Rory Garven, City of Rockingham
11.40am Wetland Challenges and Opportunities in the Lake Muir-Unicup and Upper Kent catchments
Geoff Evans, Denmark Environment Centre
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 used to control noxious blue-green algal blooms in urban wetlands
Syngeon Rodman and Jess Delaney, Biologic Environmental Survey
12.25pm Working with private landholders on a highly modified seasonal tributary to the Swan River
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 The Strategic Prioritisation of Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) in the City of Mandurah
Justin Temmen, City of Mandurah
12.40pm Lunch
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 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

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 Afternoon tea
Session 4
Workshop concurrent session
3.05pm 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: Amazon Frogbit –Sharing knowledge of recent ex-situ experiments and field investigations
Presenters:  Dr Rose Weerasinghe, Ecologist and Natasha Bowden, Education and Program Manager, South East Regional Centre for Urban Landcare
Amazon Frogbit (Limnobium laevigatum) was imported to Australia as an ornamental aquarium plant and now poses a serious threat to Australian waterways due to its explosive rate of spread. In Western Australia, Amazon Frogbit was initially discovered in 2013 at the Liege St. Wetlands and the following year in Bannister Creek, both in the City of Canning. In subsequent years there have been outbreaks in Ballanup Drain (City of Armadale), Yangebup Lake (City of Cockburn), Baileys Drain (City of Armadale), Bayswater Brook (City of Bayswater), South Belmont Main Drain (City of Belmont), Little Rush Lake (City of Cockburn), Noble Falls (City of Swan), Rockingham Central Main Drain (City of Rockingham) and Lamberita Creek (City of Canning).  Each infestation has been an isolated incident thought to have resulted from residents inappropriately disposing of their aquarium into the stormwater network or directly into the waterway. Amazon Frogbit was listed as a declared pest in Western Australia in October 2018 and was placed on the Western Australian Organism List.  Unfortunately, it was placed under the S22 (2) no control or exempt keeping category. Due to its current declaration status there is no legal obligation for land managers to manage it within their assets and nothing to prevent the continued sale of Amazon Frogbit.

This fast growing aquatic weed can quickly invade any waterway, obstructing drainage networks or stream flow, and threatening the stormwater infrastructure. The weed species can form dense mats that choke native aquatic plants and impact the wetland ecosystem and food webs. It can also provide a good habitat for mosquitoes, increase vector mosquito populations and the mosquito borne disease risk. If Amazon Frogbit spreads out of control in Western Australia, not only can it impact both environmental and human health it also can cause economic impacts. More data is needed on effective control methods for this spreading invader, as current management practices are not preventing proliferation.

SERCUL has commenced a research project on Amazon Frogbit to minimise the knowledge gap and to improve management of the species. L. laevigatum was described as a floating or emergent macrophyte in most of the research. The project found that this plant can float on the water surface and also grows submerged or partly submerged or emergent. Although Amazon Frogbit originates from fresh water habitats, this study showed it can survive and vegetatively propagate in saline waters with less than 19ppt. This shows it has the potential to rapidly spread and seriously degrade our ecosystems if it is established in the Canning River or other rivers where water has fresh to brackish conditions.

This workshop will share this, and additional, knowledge that we gained through the ex-situ experiments and possible integrated management strategies through interactive activities with live specimens. This session will also be used to educate the participants about a new aquatic weed known as Kidneyleaf mud plantain (Heteranthera reniformis), which has recently been identified in the City of Armadale.


Workshop 2: How can Ecotourism create enhanced appreciation of wetland environments?
Presenters:  Jamie Van Egmond and Sebastion ‘Base’ Jones, Co-Directors, Salt and Bush Eco Tours
How can Ecotourism find a balance in creating 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 3: Turtle Tracking in the City of Cockburn - Where to next? 
Presenters: Rafeena Boyle, Environmental Education Officer, Environmental Services, City of Cockburn & Dr. Jane Chambers, Director, NatureLink Perth, Murdoch University
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 4:  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, City of Mandurah

Cory Kennedy, City of Mandurah

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 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 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 5: Designing purposeful water quality monitoring programs for wetland management
Presenter:  Halinka Lamparski, Senior Environmental Engineer, Urbaqua Ltd
Being purposeful with water quality monitoring and designing a program with a management objective in mind is critical to ensure that useful data is collected to diagnose water quality issues; resources are used as effectively as possible; and appropriate management solutions are identified. A number of factors require consideration when designing a water quality monitoring program for wetlands including; selecting the right parameters (physical, nutrients and heavy metals), frequency of monitoring, reactive versus scheduled monitoring, monitoring of groundwater and/or surface water, and the influence of water level and flow. Identifying key site characteristics should also be undertaken as part of the design process, including consideration of groundwater and surface water connectivity, drainage systems (whether natural or man-made), systems as a sink or flow-through, construction (if man-made), historic and current landuse, catchment type, surface geology, and wildlife habitat.

Based on the results of a water quality monitoring program management options should consider space, expense/difficulty, maintenance requirements, community perception, Aboriginal heritage implications, as well as the source of contamination. Post-installation monitoring of water quality management systems will also allow an assessment of their cost-benefit to determine the usefulness of similar systems in the future.


Workshop 6: Migratory Shorebird Conservation – We can all play a role  
Presenter:  Dr Vicky Stokes, WA Program Manager, BirdLife Australia
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 group 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 impacts of recreational disturbance.
NB: On Sunday 31st January 2021, teams of volunteers will be taking 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 nibblies
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