That’s one Hill of a River

Cruising across Hill River – not exactly a hardship post – was quite possibly the most popular item on the agenda at a Healthy Estuaries workshop conducted  on the river last week.

The workshop, held at Jurien Bay Community Resource Centre and Hill River estuary, as part of the NACC Healthy Estuaries project, looked into best practice monitoring techniques, in partnership with the WA Department of Water.

The workshop was opened by a “Welcome to Country” by Yued Elder Charlie Shaw,followed by a discussion about Traditional Ecological Knowledge associated with the Hill River estuary. Several members of the community, including Shire of Dandaragan Councillor Mike Sheppard, discussed the importance of community engagement in the management of Hill River.

Department of Water Manager of Water Science, Malcolm Robb, emphasised the importance of taking care of Hill River saying: “The biggest threat to Hill River is the loss of riparian vegetation. This increases stormwater runoff, which in turn causes problems such as increased sedimentation and nutrients impacting on seagrass meadows. It is important for estuary monitoring volunteers to report on activities and occurrences so estuary managers can make informed management decisions.”

img_1808With this in mind, community members became estuary monitoring volunteers for the afternoon with the support of NACC and Department of Water staff. The Department’s Midwest-Gascoyne team provided a boat for the estuary monitoring training at Hill River, enabling the newly-trained volunteers to record water quality data at five sites and also take a brief look at some macroinvertebrates and birdlife.

NACC Coastal and Marine Project Officer Hamish Longbottom said: “Hill River is a major asset to our region, with a range of environmental, social and economic values. Engaging our community in estuary monitoring and gathering data to guide management decision-making is an important part of ensuring the estuary is protected.”

This project was supported by The Northern Agricultural Catchments Council, through funding from the WA Department of Planning’s Coastwest Grants Program.

For more information about the Healthy Estuaries project, visit the NACC website or contact Coastal and Marine Project Officer Hamish Longbottom on 9652 0872.


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