The proposed Preston River to Ocean Regional Park is a seven kilometre east-west ecological corridor in Bunbury, encompassing 915 hectares of diverse and unique natural areas. Key public reserves include The Maidens, Tuart Brook, Shearwater Tuart Forest, Hay Park, Manea Park and Loughton Park
The area includes four of the five major vegetated landforms characteristic of the Swan Coastal Plain, several Threatened Ecological Communities (TECs), Declared Rare Flora (DRF) and important habitat for a range of native fauna species, including the nationally listed Western Ringtail Possum and Carnaby’s Cockatoo.
The Preston River to Ocean project is a four-year partnership between SWCC, the City of Bunbury and Parks and Wildlife. The project, launched in 2013, aims to protect the park’s ecological, social and cultural values,which are under threat from a range of impacts associated with its close proximity to a growing urban population.
This is being undertaken through a range of on-ground actions. In 2014-15, strategic weed control was undertaken to combat priority weed species like African love grass, watsonia, Geraldton carnation weed, freesia and arum lily. Four sites were planted with native species to enhance vegetation condition. Fencing and access control gates have also been installed and maintained at key locations to protect them from the ongoing issue of illegal 4WD access, which has devastating impacts on the vegetation health.
Pest animal monitoring has been undertaken across the project area to establish current population densities and extent of foxes, cats and rabbits, and a Pest Management Plan has been produced to inform future management.
The Bunbury community has embraced the project, as reflected by the more than 200 attendees at events and activities over 2014-15, including 71 students from two local schools at three planting days, and sharing of project related information through local social media networks. Local groups, such as Friends of Manea Park and Withers Progress Association, have been instrumental in achieving project activities and in spreading the word about the project and its aims.
The area is also very significant to Noongar people, and as such SWCC has been working closely with key community representatives and supporting Aboriginal enterprise. Local Aboriginal businesses have been contracted to undertake on-ground delivery and cultural education activities.
Plans for 2015-16 include an extensive and ongoing weed control program, fencing of key areas for prevention of illegal access, dieback surveys and management, infill plantings at strategic sites, pest animal control, rubbish removal and signage installation. Further community and cultural education events, general community engagement and local media promotions are planned.
“The bushland in the proposed Regional Park contains amazing flora and fauna, and is a community asset for the future worth protecting. The active involvement of the community is vital to the successful long term management of the area.”
Pip Marshall, SWCC Project Manager.
There are 91 native fauna species that call the proposed Preston River to Ocean Regional Park home, including five amphibians, 12 reptiles, 60 bird species and 14 mammals.
88 people with improved knowledge and skills
318 people with improved knowledge and skills