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Welcome to the Spring edition of the WA Coastal News!

ACS Highlights: What has happened this season?
  • NEW! Please LIKE our Facebook  page to keep you informed between newsletters. Please share your news with us there too!
  • ACS WA State Chair, Carmen Elrick-Barr has been working with Perth NRM, CoastSwap, UWA, the WA Landcare Network, WA State Government representatives and other interested parties to set up the WA Coastal & Marine Network – see below for an update.
  • Funded by Coastwest, Sally Paulin is editing the next four issues of the newsletter. Sally is keen to hear from you about your coastal projects. Contact her on or phone 0434350183. 
  • Many thanks to Carmen Elrick-Barr for editing previous editions and to Marie Ferland for contributing news and research content.
While WA was dealing with the impact of closed borders and Covid-19, we know many people and organisations were working hard on things coastal, from practical on-ground work to planning new projects, learning new things and developing networks of people interested in the Coast. A focus of this edition is community coastcare activity.

First up! What is happening to the weather… potential impacts of the 2020-2021 La Nina 

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) is predicting that a 2020-2021 La Nina could bring a slightly higher number of cyclones and tropical lows than an average year, which could also result in higher winds and more coastal erosion.  La Nina usually means a dryer summer for the SW of WA which may mean increased risk of bush fires. A changing climate may also result in changes to flora and the behaviour of coastal and marine species over the year. During this Covid period, have you noticed plants flowering for the first time in years and more birds in the garden too? Interestingly, we have already had the wettest November in Perth for some years. What coastal changes have you noticed in your region over this year?
BOM and the CSIRO recently published the State of the Climate Report 2020  They have been reporting on the climate across Australia over the past 12 years and this latest report is  “a synthesis of the science informing our understanding of climate in Australia and includes new information about Australia’s climate of the past, present and future”.
Caring for our coasts and coastal waters will be key in a future where climate change, increased temperatures and sea level rise bring about ongoing changes to our environment and our way of life.  WA has a very long coastline, and while it is impossible to watch all of it all of the time, coastal watchers like Coastcare Groups  play a vital role in noticing change, developing projects to revegetate/reinstate where possible and reporting damage to local governments etc.  Policy makers need to access a broad range of coastal and other data to inform responses to the impacts of this changing climate worldwide.  Much of this data comes from information coastwatchers can provide.  CoastAdapt’s 2018 report about Australian regions sets out what sea level rise might look like, one of many things on their extensive website.
Update: WA Coastal and Marine Community Network, October 2020

ACS, CoastSWAP and Perth NRM together with UWA, the WA Landcare Network, WA State Government representatives and other interested parties have set up a state-wide network to address challenges facing grass-roots coastal community action, where facilitators had been lost, and many local coastal groups were looking for support.
The network will deliver information/good practice and resources will be shared and leveraged to address common goals.  Five working groups have been set up: the Steering Group, providing coordination, oversight and direction; a Reference Group and
three teams representing the three priority areas of CMCN (Capacity building, Coordination, Communication) each with assigned ‘champions’ to lead activities.
The Steering Group is currently developing the Terms of Reference and refining the value proposition, while the Themed Groups will meet to coordinate responses under their respective themes. A web presence for the network is being developed in partnership with the West Australian Landcare Network (WALN) and a WA Coastal Stakeholders Database set up with the WA branch of the Australian Coastal Society. 
Interested in being a member of a Working Group? Contact or call Carmen on 0422547462. Working Group members commit to regularly meet and actively contribute.
Government support for Coastcarers - Celebrating Coastwest

A report on the Coastwest Program’s achievements from 2011-2019 will soon be released. 
Administered by the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage for the Western Australian Planning Commission since 1995, Coastwest supports land managers and community organisations to undertake projects that rehabilitate, restore and enhance coastal sites.
Leveraged with more than $13.2 million in cash and in-kind contributions by successful proponents, more than $5.4 million was provided by the State Government to 215 projects over nine Coastwest grants rounds in the last 25 years.
Projects were undertaken in all coastal regions of WA, from Walsh Point on the remote Mitchell Plateau in the Kimberley to Alexander Bay, 80 kilometres east of Esperance.
Of the 215 projects, 64% were primarily on-ground projects, 17% identification and monitoring projects, 12% capacity building (increasing skills and participation by individuals and communities) and 7% local area planning projects.
Coastwest funding has been used to:
  • plant 384,000 seedlings;
  • weed almost 3 million square metres;
  • install almost 35 kilometers of fencing to protect sensitive vegetation;
  • construct 7 kilometers of pathways/ boardwalks to provide and control visitor access;
  • undertake 177,000m2 of brushing and erosion control;
  • prepare eight foreshore management plans;
  • undertake 13 Aboriginal heritage and conservation projects;
  • engage more than 26,000 volunteers (134,000 volunteer hours) valued at over $4 million; and
  • conduct 501 days of information, skills and training workshops.
For more information about Coastwest and to view the report, due for release in early December, please visit 

Photo by: Conservation Volunteers Australia

Coastal Community News
How Cambridge Coastcare used high tech monitoring to reveal information about our coastline

In 2019, Cambridge Coastcare (CCC) managed a trial to determine how high-precision aerial surveying technology could improve coastal dune monitoring. Meg Anklesaria (Chair, Cambridge Coastcare) reported that while they “knew that the coastline is constantly moving with the tides, wind, waves and weather systems, they wanted to ‘measure’ the patterns of sand movement, vegetation success rates and other factors to be considered in the management of coastal dunes and adjacent infrastructure. Various historical photos show images of sand accretion in summer (with the SSW winds) followed by erosion in winter (with the NW winds and storms)”. See our facebook site for a full report

 NACC Photomon App - update
The NACC Photomon App, previously featured in Coastal News, has been recently updated and users are recommended to update their version via the App Store.  See also this update from Mic Payne and Tegan Knowles, NACC Coastcare Officers about the work of the Guilderton Progress Association who incorporated photos using Photomon to report on the progress of repairing dune damage caused by unregulated 4 wheel drive activity. 
Moore Catchments Council member Rachel Walmsley  presented a video on Tackling Pyp Grass on the Guilderton Dunes at the WA Landcare Network AGM.
Binningup Coastcare Environment Group held their AGM this month and, after a quiet period, it sounds like a good group of enthusiastic members are looking forward to getting stuck in to some Coastcare Projects!  We look forward to hearing news about your activities!
Denmark Bird Group wants to establish a bird sanctuary at the Wilson Inlet, fencing off a five-acre area of Prawn Rock Channel to protect migratory birds. They are hopeful of gaining approval in the coming weeks.  Also in Denmark, Greens Pool beach will be reopened soon after being closed for infrastructure improvements to roads, toilets etc.
Nature Conservation Margaret River Region (previously known as the Cape to Cape Catchment Group) has launched a new Caring for Coast Program during 2020. Funded through philanthropic support, the program aims to foster community awareness of the values and threats to the Capes Coast, deliver on ground coastal restoration and support local coastcare groups undertaking action. The program has a strong Aboriginal engagement with cultural awareness raising and engagement of Aboriginal youth a key component.
The program also includes the exploration of community driven coastal code to inspire respect and care for the coast. Nature Conservation hosted a Capes Coastal Forum on 25 November engaging coastcare groups, coastal user groups and the community in the first discussion about a possible coastal code. Inspiration for the code is being drawn from the Pulau Pledge where the nation of Pulau developed a multi-pronged campaign to promote respect and care for their environment. More news about the outcomes in our February newsletter.

Late news! Peron-Naturaliste Newsletter out now!
For online version of their newsletter or for further information on the PNP and their projects, visit the PNP Website,

Meetings and Conferences
Coming up this week! WA State of the Blue Economy Forum, Sonar Room Fremantle
Upstairs, 42 Mews Rd, Fremantle 3 December 2020.  Registration- necessary
ACS WA Chair Carmen Elrick-Barr will speak as part of a panel at this event organised by For Blue, the City of Fremantle and the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce.  The Blue Economy provides many opportunities for innovators, investors in marine industries and coastal communities.  Other speakers include Rob Bell – Blueshift Consulting, Matt Moran – Defence West, Dr Dirk Zeller - Sea Around Us, Alex Ogg – AnchorSteam, Luke Twomey - WA Marine Science Institution and Brett McCallum – Bresal Consulting.  You can also register for live streaming.

The Australian Coastal Society’s biennial national coastal management conference, Coast to Coast 2021 will be held at the Pullman Cairns International, 26 – 29 July 2021. Designed to encourage deep dialogue, inspiring presentations, rich stories, informative excursions, fruitful workshops, opportunities to strengthen connections and build new ones, and to provide time for great conversations whether you work in government, research, natural resource management, a community organisation or NGO, if you are a consultant or represent a coastal industry.
WA Landcare Network Landcare Checks In
  • Next online check-in  Monday 7 December! Cane Toads!
Regular fortnightly online chats about ideas/issues that are relevant to Landcare, Coastcare and interested individuals.  Join Louise Duxbury and Caroline Hughes from WA Landcare Network to share your current issues, concerns and stories in an informal chat session. You can also suggest relevant topics for discussion. ‘Landcare Checks In’ is run on Zoom on alternate Mondays from 2.00 – 3.00 pm. REGISTER NOW to receive the fortnightly meeting link and discussion topic. 
The Australian Association for Environmental Education (WA)
Catchments, Corridors and Coasts, 20-22 January 2021
Snorkelling in the ocean, walking in the bush, getting up close and personal with native fauna, and sharing experiences with environmental educators – these are a few of the activities in the action-packed Catchments, Corridors and Coasts (CCC) program. CCC provides a ‘snapshot’ of environmental education in WA from catchments through to the coast  Registration costs range from $220 - $385 + fees. 

 A tip for being ready for future funding opportunities is to develop a strategic plan or list of possible projects which have basic information worked out ready to go so that you can write well informed applications before the rush to get the forms filled in because the deadline is next week!
The Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources Citizen Science Grants are designed to support public engagement in science by offering opportunities to participate, as citizen scientists, in scientific research projects that have a national impact and include the collection or transformation of data in Australia. This grant opportunity is part of the Inspiring Australia – Science Engagement Programme.  Closing date: 17 December 2020
The Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal’s Strengthening Rural Communities Grants provide small and larger grants for organisations wishing to create a difference in our smaller communities.  Round 8 Applications close 5pm AEDT, 23 February 2021 See for tips and webinars about grant writing, strategic planning, and risk management.  While this may not be free access, you might ask your local government or regional NRM organisation to consider sponsoring your membership. 

The WA Coastal Adaptation and Protection Cap grants have been awarded for 2020/2021. The next grant cycle for 2021/2022 opens in February 2021. CAP grants are available for the coastline immediately adjacent to the oceans of WA. Estuarine shorelines are included as an area of secondary focus. Perhaps your organisation might have an eligible project in mind.  Check the website for more details
WA Coastal News
South-west ocean landscape provides natural tsunami protection  
UWA researchers have identified subsurface topographic features in the eastern Indian Ocean that provide natural protection from the impact of tsunami waves and play a critical role in shielding towns between Geraldton and Busselton where most of WA's population lives. Tsunamis are generated by underwater earthquakes that originate from offshore of Indonesia.

New Spoilbank Marina
For those ‘Wandering Out Yonder’,  check out the News from Port Hedland: Spoilbank Marina Project. Port Hedland is the world’s largest bulk export port.  Ships enter the port via a narrow channel on the high tide and there are regularly large groups of ships sitting offshore in a ‘waiting room’ to enter (see the Shipfinder app).  The spoil from creating and ongoing dredging of this access channel was piled on a coastal point beside Cemetery Beach, appropriately called the Spoilbank.  This is now being developed as part of the Port Hedland Marina and Waterfront Master Plan.  This video gives you an idea of what it might look like.

Around the Nation
Tradable Reef Credits are being introduced in Queensland to encourage farmers to address water quality and limit excess nutrient and sediment running off into the Barrier Reef. Investors are supporting the Reef Credit Scheme which was developed in partnership with landholders, the Queensland Government, and natural resource management organisations Terrain NRM and NQ Dry Tropics.
Robotic vessel launched at Beachport, South Australia to map coastal erosion, better understand effects of climate change
Flinders University scientists are studying one of South Australia's fastest-eroding beaches to better understand the processes of erosion and sediment transport as an analogue for this coast's response to future sea-level rise.
Research from Western Australia

Mystery pufferfish circles discovered in Australia’s north-west
Published in the Journal of Fish Biology, UWA’s Oceans Institute and School of Biological Sciences PhD student Todd Bond has used data from routinely conducted video surveys of oil field infrastructure to identify unusual and elaborate circular nests produced by pufferfish. 
Genetics may hold the clue to saving southern right whales from extinction
UWA researchers have assembled the DNA of the southern right whales as part of a global genome-mapping project. Their results will contribute to a better understanding the species' abundance, behaviour, and foraging grounds, as well as threats to their survival such as the impacts of changing climates and habitats.

From the Journal Vaults! Recent Refereed Research Articles – open source
Achieving social and ecological goals of coastal management through integrated monitoring
(Guam), Wongbusarakum et al., 2019, J of Applied Ecology.
A tree-planting project in watersheds adjacent to sensitive coral reef habitat (Guam) involved the primarily Indigenous community in order to foster support for integrated management of land-use practices and sustainable fishing, and increase the community's knowledge of the natural and human-induced threats to coastal resources.
A cross-scale worldwide analysis of coastal adaptation planning, Olazabal et al., 2019, Environ. Res. Lett. 
The authors present the most up-to-date database of governmental and public-led coastal adaptation policies, in 68 countries including those at national, regional and city levels. They find that in many cases, the evidence suggests policies have not been implemented, and planned adaptation actions are not driven by present or future climatic impacts or risks.
The role of social-ecological resilience in Coastal Zone Management: A comparative law approach to three coastal nations (Australia, Finland, Netherlands), Garmestani et al., 2019, Front. Ecol. Evol. review article.
This comparison of coastal management in three countries identifies critical variables associated with countries' decisions to adopt laws that promote social-ecological resilience to changing environmental conditions alongside traditional engineering approaches. Local, regional and state levels can often better innovate and try experimental management approaches because they can provide greater stakeholder engagement.
Evaluating Resilience Co-benefits of Engineering With Nature® Projects (USA), Kurth et al., 2020, Front. Ecol. Evol. 
The authors created a formal method to assess how ecosystem-based approaches contribute to the resilience of coastal systems, or their ability to prepare, absorb, recover, and adapt from stressors. These are compared to more conventional coastal engineering approaches, to assess where ecosystem-based approaches might be a viable alternative or complement to conventional coastal storm risk management.
The gathering storm: optimizing management of coastal ecosystems in the face of a climate-driven threat, by Hanley et al., 2020, Annals of Botany. This article describes the severe threats posed to global coastlines and maritime plant communities by a combination of sea level rise and storms, and argues that plant scientists must work with geomorphologists and environmental agencies to protect the unique biodiversity and pivotal contribution to coastal defence delivered by maritime plant communities.

Other interesting links!

 Volunteering WA
Volunteers are the lifeblood of coastal community groups, most of which have no paid volunteer managers. For some tips on recruiting and managing volunteers even if you are a volunteer led group yourselves, check out  Volunteering WA’s training and events and you can also advertise a call for volunteers on their database.
Western Australian Marine Science Institution (WAMSI) news:
70 Years of Marine Research in Shark Bay: Ecological, Social and Economic
This report describes marine research on Shark Bay and presents what has been learned about this globally unique and vulnerable marine environment. It will contribute to a better understanding of Shark Bay and inform a Science Plan being developed by WAMSI.
AusSeabed November newsletter (# 20) includes links to the new Geoscience Australia’s Digital Earth Australia Coastlines (DEA Coastlines) database - a continental dataset that includes annual shorelines and rates of coastal change along the entire Australian coastline from 1988 to the present.  You can register to receive their monthly newsletters.  
New Zealand Coastal Society (NZCS) news
NZCS Webinar Series 2020: Evaluation of the implementation gap in coastal risk management, by Laura Robichaux. Video of this August webinar is available (begins at minute 17). NZCS Newsletters are available online.


More about the Australian Coastal Society


ACS seeks to support information sharing, to contribute to debates on coastal issues, and to promote understanding and knowledge of the WA coast. Through a regular newsletter we hope to provide an avenue for our members and others to share information. Knowledge sharing can uncover synergies and opportunities for collaboration and raise awareness of the amazing work happening along our beautiful coastline. 

Please contact to share information about your coastal area. 


As a volunteer, non-profit organisation, ACS needs active membership to drive change. Being a member provides you with access to connect with national coastal networks, leading coastal experts and to be engaged in coastal management discussions. It also enables you to contribute your thoughts, ideas and concerns and drive initiatives, whether they are local or national, and be rewarded with conference and other professional development discounts. 
Copyright © 2020 Australian Coastal Society WA, All rights reserved.

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