#Places of NRM – Wedge Island

Wedge Island is located north of Lancelin, and just south of Cervantes, on the Western Australian coast, approximately 180 kilometres north of Perth.

The island lies within the Turquoise Coast Islands Nature Reserve Group, a chain of some 40 islands.

Wedge Island. Photo credit: ExplorOz
Wedge Island. Photo credit: ExplorOz

Wedge Island is an A-Class Nature Reserve situated within the Jurien Bay Marine Park and managed by the Parks and Wildlife section of the department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA). The island is dominated by Nitre bush (Nitraria billardierei), which is an important habitat for most of the island’s fauna.

Wedge Island has been mostly disconnected from the mainland throughout the last decade, with a stretch of deep water now running between the island and mainland coastline, therefore typically only making the island accessible by boat or kayak.

This has been a natural barrier which has prevented feral predators such as foxes and cats from accessing the island, and reduced human disturbance – which has allowed the island vegetation to rehabilitate naturally.

The island is managed for the conservation of flora and fauna and is an important sanctuary for a variety of breeding seabirds, shorebirds, mammals and reptiles, including resting Sealions (Neophoca cinerea). There are many important species which call Wedge Island their home, including seabirds such as Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), Fairy Tern (Stemula nereis), Crested Tern (Thalasseus bergii), Pacific Gull (Larus pacificus), White-faced Storm Petrel (Pelagodroma marina), Pied Cormorant (Phalacrocorax varius) and Pied Oystercatcher (Haematopus longirostris). Approximately 300 pairs from seven different bird species rely on the island for breeding and refuge.

The island is also home to reptiles such as the Marbled Gecko (Christinus marmoratus), Western Limestone Ctenotus (Ctenotus australis) and West-coast Laterite Ctenotus (Ctenotus fallens). The island is also home to the Bush Rat (Rattus fuscipes).

Spring and summer is an important time of the year when most of the island’s inhabitants are breeding. However it is important to note that nests and burrows are fragile, and can be vulnerable to human disturbance. Nesting seabirds are strongly attached to nest sites, and if disturbed may abandon the site.

Source: NARViS and wedgewa.com.au

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