Western Australia’s e-newsletter for coastal and marine conservation.
Connecting researchers, community and government as communities of coastal care.

ISSUE 07 | AUGUST 2021


Welcome to the August edition of WA Coastal News

This quarter brings a wide range of stories from our community coastal carers, funding partners, government departments and research institutes.

In this edition, we are excited to announce that The Australian Coastal Society (ACS) and WA Coastal and Marine Community Network (CMCN) have partnered together to co-produce WA Coastal News from the newsfeed of CMCN’S new website at Readers can now sign up to our e-newsletter and contribute articles and short stories for future editions from this news hub.

Thank you to all of our contributors for this edition.

Carmen Elrick-Barr
Western Australian Australian Coastal Society (ACS)
WA Coastal and Marine Community Network (CMCN)

Thankyou for reading and supporting WA Coastal News
If you have any news to share in our newsletter we would love to hear from you.

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In our backyard

Loggerhead turtle found on Yallingup beach after storm

Nathan Moody with a turtle found at Yallingup after severe weather in the south west.
Photo: Adam Lever

In 2021, 30 Loggerhead Turtles have been taken into critical care at Bunbury’s Dolphin Discovery Centre. Last year, there were only four. Changes in water temperature in the Leeuwin Current from El Nino conditions has seen a higher rate of turtles found washed up along south western coastlines. The lower temperatures of southern waters causes the endangered turtles’ metabolism to shut down, threatening survival. Once rehabilitated the turtles are released off the coast of Exmouth.

See turtles in care at the Dolphin Discovery Centre >

When it rains, it pours… and we’re not complaining!

Volunteer tree planters caring for Perth coastlines. Photo: NRM Perth

Over this wild winter, the Perth NRM Coastal & Marine and Adopt-A-Beach Program coordinated over 65 planting events with local coastcare groups, LGAs, schools and corporate sponsors. More than 32,000 local provenance seedlings were planted within dunes across the Perth metro region, all of which were grown in local nurseries.

Read more >

The impact of climate on Swan River seagrass estuaries

Collecting samples in the Swan River. Photo: Chanelle Webster
Centre for Marine Ecosystems Research, Edith Cowan University @CMER_ECU

Chanelle Webster, a PhD student from Edith Cowan University (ECU), is studying how climate change influences the resilience of estuarine seagrass meadows. Seagrasses thrive in our estuaries filtering nutrients and sediments, supporting fisheries and are a food source for the iconic Black Swan. During the 2017 summer, an extreme rainfall event flushed the Derbal Yaragan estuary or Swan-Canning with fresh water. This caused a mass die-off of the seagrass. Chanelle found populations exposed to naturally more variable salinities recovered while those from a stable salinity environment did not recover within the study time frame. Her findings identified population specific resilience which can be used to future-proof our seagrass meadows to further climate change pressures.

Read more in Particle and the Journal of Ecology >

Artificial reef off the coast of north Perth

An artificial reef composed of 293 concrete modules has been installed on the seabed 8km offshore from Ocean Reef in Perth. The project was funded by the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund, from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) and the construction was conducted by Subcon Engineering. The reef covers 100,000 sqm and offers new fishing grounds. GPS coordinates are available to locate the reef.

Read more >

Collaboration between Indigenous leaders and environmental managers in WA

The Archipelago and map of coastal waters near Dampier.
Photo: cc Wikimedia Commons; Map cc Wikimedia Commons

WA traditional owners and government officials have come together to protect the stunning WA coastlines in the Buccaneer Archipelago region. Jim Underwood from AIMS, in his article in The Conversation, outlines how a collaboration between WA’s Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions and Bardi Jawi, Mayala and Dambeemangarddee Traditional Owners are providing care for sea country.

Read more >

Busseslton Jetty receives Climate Action Certification

Busselton Jetty. Photo: cc Wikimedia Commons

Busselton Jetty is the first business in the South West of WA to be awarded Climate Action Certification, one of only 8 tourist attractions in Australia to reach this achievement. It was also presented with Advanced Ecotourism Accreditation, one of two in the region. Jetty staff and volunteers have passionately carried out environmental audits, beach and underwater clean-up days, marine research, pile rehabilitation, schools clean oceans programs and a lot more to be recognised as environmental stewards.

Read more >

New Global Climate Projections – a focus on oceans and coasts

Projected shoreline change - potential retreat shown by negative values (red to yellow). Image : IPCC 2021, Regional Fact Sheet Australasia

The latest climate change projections delivered by the IPCC in its 6th assessment report present a sobering picture for Australia’s coastal and marine regions. Rising sea level is projected to contribute to coastal recession in many locations. These changes in combination with increased ocean and air temperatures and decreased rainfall will alter ecosystems with far reaching impacts for coastal areas.

Read more >

More from community

Look at these living gems!

Coastal manager and Coastcare representative attendees of the inaugural TCMG meeting in Jurien Bay. Photo: NACC NRM, Geraldton.

Turquoise Coast Management Group forms in the Mid West

In early August, coastal managers from the Shires of Gingin, Dandaragan and Coorow, DBCA (Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions) and representatives from all major Coastcare groups in corresponding areas, met to workshop objectives for a new coastal management group. The Turquoise Coast Management Group (TCMG) is set to be another ‘gem’ to the Turquoise coast of the Mid West region and is supported by CoastWest funding.

Read more >

School kids learn coastal care at Redgate Beach in Margaret River

Students from Margaret River Independent School at Redgate Beach.
Photo: Nature Conservation Margaret River.

A year 4 class from Margaret River Independent School visited Redgate Beach as part of Nature Conservation Margaret River's Adopt a Spot Program. The students learnt about the impacts of coastal erosion and the importance of native vegetation and helped to restore the coastline. At least 300 cuttings of native pigface were planted, and invasive onion weed was removed. Local coastal carers helped to co-ordinate the planting and ensured the hard-working students had assistance with the 'deep dune' style of planting.

Read more >

City of Greater Geraldton and Coastwest partner for Lal’s Lookout

Cape Burney. Photo: City of Greater Geraldton.

Lal’s Lookout at the mouth of the Greenough River is heavily utilised and valued by the community, though like many similar places is being loved to death. Heavy foot and vehicle traffic into the dune, which is directly exposed to the prevailing winds resulted in significant vegetation loss and sand movement. The City of Greater Geraldton has recently implemented soft coastal management methods at Lal’s lookout, such as sand trap hessian fencing and brushing, with the support of Coastwest funding.

Read more >

Get involved in coastal planning for the Capel – Leschenault region

Back Beach, Bunbury. Photo: Peron Naturaliste Partnership

The Capel to Leschenault coastline is highly valued by the people who call it home, however balancing our desire to live near the coast and managing the impacts of coastal processes is becoming more important. A Coastal Hazard Risk Management and Adaption Plan is currently under development between the Peron Naturaliste Partnership, local and state government, and the Southern Ports Authority. Local people encouraged to get involved, particularly in the upcoming workshops on 2 September 2021 at four local Council Chambers, or by filling in the survey.

Read more >

Update from WA CMCN

This quarter WA’s CMCN (Coastal and Marine Community Network) has partnered with WALN (Western Australian Landcare Network) to contract a new Coastal Officer to work with CMCN’s Core Strategic Group and implement a range of activities into our strategic plan over the coming year.

Read the full update >>

Sign up as a member with CMCN >

To best support marine and coastal care groups, the Network is seeking expressions of interest for the establishment of a list of priority issues for WA local organizations in the fields of marine and coastal management.

Find out more; and nominate a priority issue of concern for your group.

Upcoming events

Submarine visits at the Maritime Museum

Submarine tour. Photo: WA Maritime Museum

Venture inside the historic, cold-war era submarine and allow one of the Maritime Museum’s knowledgeable Volunteer Submarine Guides to explain how the submarine functioned and the exciting challenges and complexities presented by a life underwater. Tours run at various times between 10.00am – 3:30pm each day.

More information

Upcoming conferences

ECSA 58 - EMECS 13 | 6-9 September 2021 | Online

Estuaries and coastal seas in the Anthropocene: Structure, functions, services and management: This conference has a line-up of expert speakers, contributed talks and ePosters outlining the latest innovative research and management practices.
More information >

Resilient Landscapes | 15-17 September | Perth

The Biodiversity Conference: This Conference brings together researchers and practitioners across academia, government, industry and community to share scientific knowledge, biodiversity informatics and best practice in biodiversity conservation.
More information >

Mandjoogoorap, Changing Tides | 28-30 Sepember 2021 | Mandurah, Western Australia

Australian Association for Environmental Education (AAEE) Biennial Conference: Inspired by moving local examples, resilience theory, and Mandurah’s relaxed waterside lifestyle this conference aims to showcase innovative, practical and effective tools to help us “change the tides” of environmental and sustainability education.
More information >>

29th NSW Coastal Conference | 17-19 November 2021 | Kingscliff, NSW

This conference brings together over 250 delegates from a diverse range of fields, including: all aspects of coastal, estuarine and marine management, science and research, education, planning, policy and law; and includes representatives from government, the private sector, community groups and interested public.
More information >

Australasian Coasts & Ports 2021 | 28 Nov – 1 Dec | Christchurch NZ

Adapt and Thrive: The conference recognises the dynamic coastal environment that we live in and the need for coastal communities to be resilient and adaptable. It will bring together a wide range of professionals – engineers, scientists, planners, academics and more.
More information >

Grants and funding opportunities

Successful 2021/22 CoastWA grants announced

Coastal rehabilitation. Photo: Cottesloe Coastcare

The Minister for Planning has announced grants worth $4 million for 54 projects that plan, manage and protect Western Australia's coast. Funding is provided through the CoastWA program, developed in response to the findings of the Assessment of Coastal Erosion Hotspots in WA undertaken in 2018.

Read more >

More information about grants:____CoastWA >____Coastal Adaptation and Protection (CAP) >

Minister’s media release >

A funding boost for coastal management in WA

The state government has allocated an additional $18.5 million in the 2021-22 Budget to manage coastal erosion and protect WA's coastline. The program now has $33.5 million of funding over the next five years.

Read more >

Grant opportunities

View a 3 page document that lists available funding in WA. Including grants that close soon and others that are available all year round.

Download document

National and international news


Richard Flanagan on the Tasmania Salmon Industry

A salmon farm in Tasmania. Photo: cc Wikimedia Commons

During an interview on ABC Radio National Phillip Adams speaks with author Richard Flanagan about his book Toxic: The Rotting Underbelly of the Tasmanian Salmon Industry.
Listen to the interview >____View the book >

Aquaculture: Is it just fish farming and why are billionaires investing in the industry?

Growth in aquaculture in Australia and overseas has surged in recent years alongside consumer demand for more fish products and an emphasis on sustainability.
Read ABC Rural report >

Blue carbon to create 'insurable' value from muddy wetlands in South Australia

In SA, plans are afoot to restore up to 2,000 hectares of mangroves, salt marsh and sea grasses across 700 kilometres in the Saint Vincent and Spencer gulfs, to reduce carbon in the atmosphere.
Read ABC Radio Adelaide report >


New NASA interactive tool shows how sea level rise could affect where you live

The threat of sea level rise. Photo: cc Wikimedia Commons

NASA’s Sea Level Change Team has created a sea level projection tool that makes extensive data on future sea level rise from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) easily accessible to the public – and to everyone with a stake in planning for the changes to come. NASA says the goal is to deliver the projection data in the IPCC report in a usable form while also providing easy visualization of the future scenarios.

Read more from NASA or view the map >

Estuaries reveal signs of climate crisis

Estuaries and river deltas act as an early warning that all is not well, from rising sea levels to invasive species, and experts say these fragile ecosystems are where the impacts of the climate crisis are often felt first.

Read more at The Guardian >


Marine reserve study offers insights to protect ocean life

Researchers from The University of Western Australia and 14 other institutions have undertaken the largest assessment of marine reserves in Australia, and found Australia is successful at protecting many fish species, but there’s still room for improvement. Their results will help policy-makers and government conserve marine biodiversity, by providing a blue-print for protecting Australia’s marine life.

Read more >

How smart-tags are revealing the secret lives of animals underwater

A sawfish pup with a smart tag attached to its dorsal fin. Photo: Murdoch University.

As marine ecosystems around the world face critical threats posed by global warming, exploitation and pollution, researchers are documenting the daily lives of marine animals in efforts to save them.

Read more >

Innovative marine science approach is a “game-changer” for global reef recovery efforts

Photo: AIMS; credit: Cathie Page

BHP and the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) have jointly committed $27 million to launch the Australian Coral Reef Resilience initiative (ACRRI), a world-first biodiversity approach that is transforming global efforts to promote coral reef recovery. The five-year national research program brings together research from two World Heritage sites – the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland and Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia.

Read more >

Panel discussion on seaweed forests from Great Southern Reef

Watch this online panel discussion streamed via Great Southern Reef as part of the Seaweed Forests Festival.

Time and tide: Mapping Australia’s dynamic coastal zone

Watch the GeoScience Australia YouTube interview discussing DEA Coastlines

Digital Earth Australia (DEA) Coastlines is a free dataset that includes annual shorelines and rates of coastal change along the entire Australian coastline from 1988 to the present. It enables users to examine trends of annual coastal erosion and growth, at a variety of scales, to compare patterns of coastal change with those observed in previous years or decades. This dataset is crucial tool for managing the coastal region, from social, environmental and economic perspectives - it was developed with the assistance of local councils, state governments, citizen science projects and academics.

Read more >

Published research listing


1 Recurrent coral bleaching in north-western Australia and associated declines in coral cover

Until recently coastal reefs of northwestern Australia have been relatively unaffected by higher sea-surface temperature and coral bleaching compared to eastern Australian reefs. However, these researchers identified relative declines in coral cover ranging from 38 to 92%, and since 2013 it has declined to historically low levels which is consistent with global trends. Given rising temperatures, there is a high likelihood that WA reefs will experience more frequent marine heatwaves, coral bleaching and mortality events in the future, and therefore action is needed now to support the resilience of coral reef ecosystems.
Download paper >

2 Research priorities for coastal geoscience and engineering: A collaborative exercise in priority setting from Australia

This collaborative priority-setting exercise quantified the criticality of each coastal geoscience and engineering priority or emerging issue within these major categories: data collection and collation; coastal dynamics; modelling; engineering solutions; coastal hazards and climate change; communication and collaboration; and infrastructure, innovation, and funding. It is hoped that the needs identified will contribute to addressing key practical challenges and lead to proactive management of coastal hazard impacts and informed planning to mitigate the impacts of growing coastal risk in a changing climate.
Download paper >


1 Ocean Outreach in Australia: How a National Research Facility is Engaging with Community to Improve Scientific Literacy

CSIRO, especially through the Marine National Facility and their Outreach Program, plays an important role in marine education, training and communication for a variety of age levels. The paper discusses components of the outreach program that contribute to improved science communication, science literacy, and capacity-building with the aim of improved societal value of the ocean leading to sustainable decision making.
Download paper >

2 Future-proofing conservation priorities for sea level rise in coastal urban ecosystems

The authors developed and applied a multi-ecosystem approach to assist in planning for the conservation and protection of coastal ecosystems as rising sea level changes the spatial configuration of coastal habitats. Using urbanised Moreton Bay in Queensland as a case-study, they found that planning based on present conditions will not adequately capture conservation priorities for the future, and has associated financial consequences. Multiple scenarios and sensitivity tests identified critical/priority areas to be protected.
Download paper >

3 Estimating blue carbon sequestration under coastal management scenarios

Erosion of soils in 'blue carbon' ecosystems – mangrove forests, tidal marshes, and seagrass meadows – is a large carbon emissions threat, so managed retreat could sequester much more than a no-action alternative. This study of 2500 km of coastline in southeastern Australia used models to quantify which management actions produce the greatest gains in sequestration, and found that the large potential value loss from coastal erosion is signfiicantly greater than potential gains from conserving or restoring ecosystems.
Download paper >
(only abstract and figures are accessible free online )

4 A visualization tool for citizen-science marine debris big data

To reduce the deleterious effects of anthropogenic marine debris (largely plastic) on sensitive and vulnerable marine and estuarine ecosystems, the authors developed a web-based visualization tool for an Australian marine debris database. The five elements of the source-to-sea (S2S) framework enable harm minimization by working with relevant actors (engagement) to identify cause and effect (characterize and diagnose) before developing remedial action with continuous monitoring and evaluation (design, act and adapt).
Download paper >

5 Good enough for governance? Audit and marine biodiversity offsetting in Australia

Biodiversity offsetting is often presented as a way to manage competing demands of environmental protection and economic development. However, showing that there is/will be no net loss (NNL) of biodiversity is extremely difficult, due to the highly uncertain nature of marine systems, the low knowledge of ecological restoration, and complex administrative governance. The authors found that there is a lack of transparency in ecological outcomes because marine offsets do not rely on accurate quantification of biodiversity losses and gains.
Download paper >
(only abstract and highlights are accessible free online)

6 Coastal flood risk within a peri-urban area: Sussex Inlet district, SE Australia

Given the increased risk of coastal flooding, especially due to rising sea level and an expanding periurban population, the authors sought to develop a a consistent approach to mapping risk. They used high-resolution remotely sensed data to map exposure, vulnerability and biophysical variables, and then integrated the flood risk triangle with future scenarios of demographic and climate change to develop flood-risk maps that can be applied across spatial scales to improve planning strategies.
Download paper >

7 Sustainable Oceans and Coasts National Strategy 2021-2030

Oceans and coasts support our communities and our economy, but they are under immediate and increasing threat from multiple overlapping pressures, including climate change, pollution, invasive species, habitat and biodiversity loss, and a growing population with greater infrastructure needs. This strategy recognises that our natural environment, will play a central role in forcing sustainability transitions, and that the time frame for achieving this change is urgent – we must address the blue economy and resilient coastal communities in order to achieve sustainable oceans and coasts for Australia.
Download paper >

8 Determining the Shoreline Retreat Rate of Australia Using Discrete and Hybrid Bayesian Networks

Evaluating shoreline retreat rate (SRR) on different spatial-temporal scales is critical for effective coastal management. Large-scale evaluations typically rely on data-driven methods such as Discrete Bayesian networks (BNs). Here, the authors propose a new method, the Hybrid BN to incorporate continuous variables without discretization. Findings indicated BNs can reflect the impact of different factors on coastal evolution, and predict future shoreline change by exploring historical data.
Download paper >
(only abstract and highlights are accessible free online)


1 In search of social sustainability in marine spatial planning: A review of scientific literature published 2005–2020

The authors examined how social sustainability was addressed in 310 peer reviewed scientific articles on marine/maritime spatial planning (MSP) and show that very few papers published between 2005 and 2020 developed a coherent framework for engaging with social sustainability. Since the papers mostly addressed particular social concerns (e.g., participation and engagement, equity and social justice, socio-cultural values and preferences), there is a need for both the academic and practice-based communities to address how the multidimensions of social sustainability interact with each other, as well as with economic and environmental aspects of marine planning and governance.
Download paper >

2 Marine Spatial Planning cross-border cooperation in the ‘European Macaronesia Ocean’: A participatory approach

Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) generally includes ecological, physical processes and administrative jurisdictions of multiple countries, which creates a complex challenge for the transboundary cooperation. To achieve coherent MSP processes in shared marine socio-ecological systems, a pilot programme with early stakeholders’ involvement was created, to reach consensus and develop cross-border mechanisms, in archipelagic remote regions with no visible maritime borders (Azores, Madeira and Canary Islands).
Download paper >

That’s it from us.

Take a moment to enjoy the commentary from Nautilus scientists in Hawaii as they encounter a mysterious deep sea fish putting on a show, these guys love their job! From National Geographic on YouTube.

Keep us updated on what you are up to …

Thank you for reading WA Coastal News

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This newsletter is produced by ACS (Australian Coastal Society Ltd) in partnership with CMCN (Western Australian Coastal and Marine Network).
Thankyou to the Western Australian Planning Commission and the CoastWest grant program for supporting WA Coastal News.

WA Coastal News acknowledges the traditional owners and custodians of the lands and coastlines of Western Australia. We pay our respects to the Elders past, present and emerging as we share knowledge and care for the land and waters of this state.


Copyright (C) 2021 Australian Coastal Society WA. All rights reserved.

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