Waterways and Wetland Linkages



The Waterways and Wetlands Linkages project aims to protect and enhance waterways by reducing the impact of nutrient run-off and protecting threatened native fish species.

The project is made up of two major components, focusing on Urban Waterways and Balston’s Pygmy Perch.

The Urban Waterways project aims to enhance and protect urban waterways and wetlands in coastal environments by undertaking activities that reduce the impacts of nutrient run-off, restore riparian vegetation and restabilise river banks.

The Balston’s Pygmy Perch project aims to conserve this very special native freshwater fish species, Nannatherina balstoni, currently listed nationally as vulnerable. In partnership with Murdoch University’s Freshwater Fish Group, three waterways in strategic locations have been surveyed for barriers to fish migration and spawning, feral fish control has been undertaken, key refuge areas identified and species distribution updated to identify any range and/or population decline of the species.

In addition, the Balston’s Pygmy Perch project aims to improve biodiversity values, enhance bank stabilisation, and decrease the negative impacts of nutrient run-off and sedimentation, through riparian restoration along a number of waterways where the species historically occurs. It also aims to increase the knowledge and skills of the local community about the importance of conserving aquatic ecosystems and associated aquatic species. In 2014-15, the Urban Waterways project achieved 7.3 hectares of revegetation along priority waterways, including the Brunswick and Collie rivers in the Leschenault catchment, and Five Mile Brook and Busselton New River Wetlands in the Geographe catchment. Planting and weed control over four successive years of investment has led to well established revegetation sites in the Leschenault catchment, with significant environmental outcomes.

The project has also increased bank stability at the Collie River by partnering with the Shire of Dardanup to install erosion control structures in the form of baffle boards, and riparian revegetation along the foreshore area in Eaton.

Several NRM groups, local governments and the general community have been supported through these projects. The Warren Catchments Council delivered community awareness events in partnership with SWCC and engaged local landholders in fencing, weed control and revegetation along waterways as part of the Balston’s Pygmy Perch project. Engaging with local communities in the protection of waterways and threatened aquatic species has helped increase capacity by strengthening networks, social cohesion and increasing skills and knowledge.

The focus of the project going forward is to improve water quality in priority waterway, wetland and estuarine environments, by partnering with local governments to implement Urban Water Sensitive Design infrastructure.

“Balston’s Pygmy Perch is highly susceptible to habitat disturbance such as land clearing and feral fish as the species is only found in intact river systems and rarely observed cohabiting with introduced species such as Trout, Redfin Perch and Eastern Gambusia.”

Mark Allen, Murdoch University.


Balston’s Pygmy Perch and other freshwater fish species can sometimes be found in artificial pools used for fire management, leading scientists to speculate about whether the installation of more artificial fire water points at strategic locations could be a win-win for future conservation and fire management alike.


  • GeoCatch
  • Leschenault Catchment Council
  • Murdoch University
  • Shire of Dardanup
  • Warren Catchments Council

86 people with improved knowledge and skills

214 people with improved knowledge and skills

4 Aboriginal groups/people engaged in activities

4 Aboriginal groups/people engaged in activities

Key Partners

© 2022 South West Catchments Council


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