According to Southern Cross University researcher professor Richard Bush, the problem is now reaching levels seen nowhere else in the world.
The channel is failing to prevent nutrient build-up and algal growth and has returned the inlet to its pre-1994 state with rehabilitation unlikely under existing management. Peel-Harvey Catchment Council chair Jan Star said the Catchment Council had long been claiming the estuary was neglected, and demand for more urban development would increase nutrient load going into the inlet.
She said the problem would not be solved overnight and was getting worse.
‘It is of great concern, the original planning never took the sediment into serious account,” she said. A recent report stressed management flaws that included weak or non-existent monitoring and overlapping jurisdictions.
Ms Star said there was no single body in place to look after the inlet, although a recent Liberal Federal election commitment was under discussion.
In Mandurah last month, Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt committed, if elected, to form a Peel Harvey Natural Resource Management group to focus specifically on the Peel Inlet.
Ms Star said the findings of Prof Bush, ncluding that development was a contributor to the return of black sediment and phosphorus build-up, was the reverse of what he had been expecting.
Ms Star said the proposed amalgamation of Serpentine-Jarrahdale Shire Council with the City of Armadale would make matters worse as the City of Armadale did not include Peel Inlet.