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Natural Heritage Trust

22 February 2001

WA'S MARINE AND COASTAL WATERS AWASH WITH $1.07M FUNDING


Protecting threatened dugongs in Shark Bay is the focus of one of nine Western Australian projects to receive a total of $1.07 million Natural Heritage Trust funding announced today by Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill.

"Under this $70,400 project, the Department of Conservation and Land Management, with assistance from the local Indigenous community, will track dugongs in the waters of World Heritage-listed Shark Bay to learn more about the mammal's habitat and ensure their survival in the future," Senator Hill said.

"The vital data will then be used to develop proper guidelines to manage potential threats to dugongs, which include drowning in fish and shark nets, and seagrass meadow destruction from dredging and agricultural land use in a bid to reverse a recent decline in population numbers."

Other Coasts and Clean Seas projects funded in WA will address marine pollution from wastewater, the protection of marine species from human impacts, and important habitat preservation.

Senator Hill said all the projects were fine examples of how on-ground work could achieve exceptional results in conserving and repairing Australia's coastal, marine and estuarine environments.

"They also demonstrate how the Trust is achieving both environmental and economic benefits."

"The Water Corporation of Western Australia will use its $63,980 funding to educate the community, land managers, government agencies and environmental regulators about the need to reduce nutrients to Southern Geographe Bay, north of Margaret River. The project will improve poor land use practices threatening the region's fragile seagrass meadows," Senator Hill said.

"Another project, led by the Town of Cottesloe, has received $40,500 to clean up the beaches of Cottesloe and North Cottesloe through the installation of two gross pollutant traps, improved stormwater drainage and litter collection.

"Geraldton Port Authority will use its $250,000 funding to install a vacuum sewage scheme to collect wastewater from the Geraldton Port Authority docks and some 50 businesses in the area. The treated wastewater will then be reused in public open spaces.

"All these projects will build on the great achievements of previously-funded Coasts and Clean Seas projects including reduced costs, increased efficiency and less waste.

"The Trust depends heavily on community, industry and government groups identifying local environmental problems, and developing solutions that can be spread to and reproduced by other regions.

"The number and quality of community applications for Trust funding is a clear endorsement of the Trust, and those projects awarded funds will continue the collaborative work of the past three years.

"The end result will be cleaner beaches, improved water quality and a better understanding of the impact of human and natural activities on marine biodiversity," Senator Hill said.

These nine projects are funded under the fourth round of the Trust's $141 million Coasts and Clean Seas initiative, bringing to a total $ $6,561,834 Trust funding committed to clean seas, coastal monitoring and marine species protection in Western Australia.

The list of WA funded projects is available for downloading as a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer to view it.

For further information on the Coasts and Clean Seas initiative contact Environment Australia's Community Information Unit on toll-free 1800 803 772 or visit the website at www.environment.gov.au/marine/coast_clean_seas/

22 February 2001

Media contact:
Belinda Huppatz (Senator Hill's Office): (02) 6277 7640 or 0419 258 364

Commonwealth of Australia