Wetlands and Watercourses

 

Residents can contribute to the protection and restoration of wetlands and watercourses by understanding their location and status and the impact of land use on them. 

Definitions

What is a watercourse?

Shire of Mundaring defines a watercourse as:

  • Any river, stream or creek in which water flows in a natural channel whether permanently or intermittently
  • An artificial aqueduct for the conveyance of water.

What is riparian vegetation?

The plants growing on the water's edge, the banks of rivers and creeks and along the edges of wetlands are referred to as 'riparian vegetation'. Riparian vegetation can include trees, shrubs, grasses and vines in a complex structure of groundcovers, understorey and canopy.

The importance of watercourses and riparian vegetation

Watercourses and their riparian vegetation: 

  • Catch water from the surrounding landscape preventing flooding
  • Contains high levels of biodiversity
  • Have understorey plants that help remove excess nutrients and pollutants from stormwater and runoff
  • Contain large woody debris and vegetation that offer shelter, protection and habitat for wildlife
  • Have root systems of shrubs and sedges that reinforce stream banks preventing erosion
  • Provides shade which lowers light penetration and water temperature
  • Inland waters are culturally significant to indigenous people.

Riparian vegetation along watercourses signify the health of a watercourse.

The booklet below discusses this importance as well as the identification of native plants that are found along watercourses in the Perth Hills. 

The Value of Fringing Vegetation (Watercourse) by Una Bell (PDF)

Watercourses in the Shire of Mundaring

Watercourses in the Shire of Mundaring, created by a unique topography and climate, form an important characteristic of the hills environment.

Catchments and their tributaries also contribute to the health of the Swan River and provide clean drinking water to the Goldfields.

However, these inland waters are under threat through loss of fringing vegetation and other degrading factors. It is therefore important that watercourses are protected and managed to minimise environmental impacts and conserve their ecological and social values.

Environmental damage

Mismanagement of watercourses and removing vegetation can result in the following issues:

  • Loss of habitat
  • Bank erosion, sedimentation and turbidity
  • Build up of nutrients and pollutants
  • Weed intrusion preventing native plants from establishing or growing which results in a lack of plant diversity
  • Inappropriate design of development in watercourses, eg dams or vehicle crossings can alter the natural flow of water, which can create localised flooding or erosion problems downstream.

Approval required for clearing or land development

Shire of Mundaring has rules regarding activities that can be undertaken on or near watercourses on private property.  

Find out more about approvals required for clearing and land development, including local, State an Commonwealth government approvals that may be required.

Volunteering opportunities

There are opportunities for residents to be involved in the protection and rehabilitation of wetlands and watercourses.

There are many Catchment and Friends Groups within the Shire who undertake a wide range of bush regeneration projects, including restoring creek lines and streams. 

Refer to the Catchment and Friends Groups page to find out more.

More information and contact

For more information about wetland and watercourses, contact the Shire’s Environmental Team on 9290 6651 or email shire@mundaring.wa.gov.au.

See also: