The significance of this area
As one of the fastest growing regions in Australia, the Augusta-Margaret River Shire is under enormous pressure from population increases and associated urban expansion, tourist development, and agriculture including viticulture, intensive horticulture, grazing, and plantation forestry.
Yet this is a biologically rich area which has numerous threatened and priority ecological communities, threatened vegetation types and habitat for a broad range of significant species - including 69 declared rare or priority flora species and 43 threatened fauna species.
A number of endangered species are endemic to the Shire, such as the Margaret River hairy marron and burrowing crayfish, white-bellied frog and Leeuwin snail. Despite significant efforts, environmental weeds still impact large areas of important bushland and threaten biodiversity values in all but the best bushland.
Introduced feral animals threaten biodiversity including many threatened species and on-going efforts are required, particularly with respect to aquatic feral species. Significant plant diseases exist such as the increasingly common Marri canker and phytophthora and other dieback diseases.
Climate change brings a number of challenges for the local biodiversity including predicted drying and warming and the prospect of increased fire risks, new feral animals and weed species threats.
The Story so Far
The community of this region consists of many enlightened, environmentally minded and creative people, capable of driving a better ecological future for the region.
Our lead group in this area is Nature Conservation Margaret River Region (previously known as the Cape to Cape Catchments Group), who work closely with the Shire of Margaret River and Lower Blackwood Landcare.
In 2010 Cape to Cape gained LotteryWest support to undertake fencing of critical bushland areas and development of a Conservation Action Plan (CAP). The CAP 'Augusta-Margaret River Landscape - a Conservation Action Plan' was finalised with key biodiversity targets and strategically critical steps to achieve them.
This helped the group think more strategically about their efforts, and they have now established a higher order strategic plan, a re-vitalised committee structure and strategic alliances with other key groups in their area.
Key initiatives most relevant to Gondwana Link include:
- Conserving the Margaret River;
- Coordinated weed control;
- Managing bush for wildlife;
- Threatened species protection; and
- Environmental education.