National Wetlands Update September 2012
Issue No. 21, September 2012
Working together to protect Lake Muir
Michael Schultz, South West Catchments Council
Lake Muir from the East. (Michael Schultz)
The Lake Muir-Byeneup system in Western Australia is a complex landscape of valley floor wetlands of 5000 hectares and is designated under the Ramsar Convention as a wetland of international importance, acknowledging its rich ecological diversity.
The South West Catchments Council (SWCC) has been working in partnership with local landholders, community groups and government organisations to protect this important wetland, through reducing the impacts of invasive weeds and pests.
Lake Muir is located 55 kilometres south east of Manjimup in south west Western Australia and is the largest lake within the Muir-Byenup System Ramsar site. The conservation values include:
- more than 600 native plants species and three nationally vulnerable, wetland-dependent orchids
- six nationally vulnerable fauna species (Balston's pygmy perch, Muir's corella, forest red tailed black cockatoo, chuditch, numbat and quokka)
- supporting more than 20 000 waterbirds. It is one of the most important moulting sites for Australian shelducks in southern Western Australia. The little bittern, spotless crake, Australasian bittern, black swan and Eurasian coot all breed at this site
- supporting ten bird species identified under the international migratory species agreement
- the only wetland complex of its type in Western Australia in near pristine condition.
Ongoing threats to the Ramsar wetland include:
- pest species–rabbits, deer, horses, pigs and foxes that cause damage to vegetation and soil
- weed species–typha, watsonia, Paterson's curse and cape tulip.
"I love the lake–there is only one Lake Muir", says Ashley Muir, a local landholder whose property is on the Lake's border. Ashley Muir was interested in weed and pest control for his property and he wanted to do it himself. This led to neighbouring farmers agreeing to have him control weeds on their properties and a very successful partnership with SWCC and the other landholders resulted.
SWCC also works in partnership with a local community group, the Muir Denbarker Feral Pig Eradication Group which formed more than ten years ago. The group has many years of experience and expertise in trapping feral pigs and is now protecting public land and natural assets such as Lake Muir.
Future investment will allow work to continue to protect Lake Muir from the threats of invasive weed species and introduced animals. Partnerships with other community groups and landholders such as Mr Muir will create a weed and pest free buffer around this national asset.
This project is supported by the South West Catchments Council through funding from the Australian Government's Caring for our Country and the Government of Western Australia.
For more information visit SWCC's website .