Mandurah: Lake Mealup restoration earns accolade

Project officer Heidi Bucktin conducting tests.
Project officer Heidi Bucktin conducting tests.

A COLLABORATIVE project to restore an internationally-significant wetland south of Mandurah has been named as a finalist in a national river management competition.

National recognition for the Lake Mealup Recovery Program is a success story for local environmental groups and stakeholders.

The program is one of three finalists in contention for the 2015 Australian River Prize of $200,000.

The prize will be awarded in Brisbane next month.

Parks and Wildlife project officer Heidi Bucktin said the recovery program had been successful in improving water quality at Lake Mealup since 2012.

“Lake Mealup is part of the Ramsar-listed Peel-Yalgorup wetlands and an important waterbird refuge, but it has suffered from declining water levels and water acidification,” she said.

“The key component of the recovery program has been the installation of a diversion weir, which has allowed good quality drainage water to be funnelled into the lake, improving water health.”

Peel Harvey Catchment Council chairwoman Jan Star said construction of the weir was a significant milestone in the recovery program.

“Getting water back into the lake became an urgent priority.”

Ms Bucktin said 43 bird species, including seven trans-equatorial migratory wading birds, had been recorded at Lake Mealup since water was returned to the wetlands.