Augusta-Margaret River Landscape
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. A tough call for 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 threats exist and are emerging in the realms of plant diseases (Marri canker is increasingly common, as is phytophthora and other dieback diseases). Climate change brings a number of challenges for our local biodiversity including predicted drying and warming and the prospect of increased fire risks, new feral animals and weed species threats.
The community here has many enlightened, environmentally minded and creative people, capable of driving a better ecological future for the region.
The Story so Far
Our lead group in this area is the Cape to Cape Catchments Group, who work closely with the Shire of Margaret River and the Lower Blackwood Landcare Centre. Their Gondwana Link program commenced in 2010 when Cape to Cape was successful in gaining LotteryWest support to undertake fencing of critical bushland areas and development of a Conservation Action Plan (CAP). Since then we have worked together on the CAP to establish key biodiversity targets and the strategically critical steps to achieve them. The 'Augusta-Margaret River Landscape - a Conservation Action Plan' can be downloaded (1.3Mb).
Cape to Cape is a small team with many programs running and it isn't easy to achieve the expansion needed under those circumstances. Nevertheless, gains continue to be made. For more information go to the Cape to Cape Catchments Group please go to their website.