Waterways

The Shire acknowledges the importance of rivers, inlets and coastline to residents, visitors and the local economy, and implements and advocates for policies with other relevant authorities and organisations to maintain these to a high standard of health and amenity. Denmark’s wetland environments are extensive and unique. Frogs, reptiles and birds that live in these areas rely on wetlands for survival. Wetland systems in the Shire of Denmark include Parry Inlet, Irwin Inlet, Owingup Swamp and Wilson Inlet.

The Shire liaises with catchment land users to ensure a landscape-wide management approach and provides funding and support to community groups and management bodies regarding wetland management and on-ground activities such as fencing and revegetation works of waterways. The Shire also has a dam construction policy which prohibits riparian vegetation clearing (see Town Planning Scheme 3 Policy No.37: Dams and Water Features), to ensure continued protection of our waterways and wetland areas.

Wilson Inlet foreshore

Wilson Inlet foreshore - photo captured by local film maker Craig Carter.

Wilson Inlet

Wilson Inlet is one of 118 sites of International Significance for migratory and resident shore-birds in Australia. Swamp Woodland, including stands of freshwater paper bark (Melaleuca preissiana), form an important habitat around the banks of the Wilson Inlet. The vegetation, including rushes, sedges and paperbarks found in swampy areas around the inlet are essential for filtering fertilisers, nutrients and other pollutants from storm water runoff and for protecting against erosion. Migratory wading birds, such as the Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus), rely on the wetlands as important feeding areas. Yellow-Billed Spoon Bills (Platalea fiavipes) patrol the shallow waters of Wilson Inlet using the vibration detectors on their spatulate bill to feel for prey items and feed by day or night.

The Department of Water (DoW) is the lead agency for the coordination and delivery of outcomes in water quality and quantity, estuarine and catchment management in priority areas of WA, including Wilson Inlet. Legislatively, the Department’s head powers are provided by the Water Agencies Power Act 1984, while the primary legislative powers for waterway management in Wilson Inlet is via the Waterways Conservation Act 1976 and the Rights In Water and Irrigation Act 1914.

Effective delivery of this activity relies on working partnerships with a range of Government and community stakeholders in the coordination and delivery of estuary, catchment and waterway management. The Shire of Denmark is a key stakeholder in management of the Inlet: it provides Government with information on community wishes and adds value to management through community input into agency decisions and ensuring the community is made aware of Government initiatives relating to the Inlet.

Please click on the following link to access a short film of Noongar Elder Wayne Webb speaking on country entitled A Pibulman Wadandi Man's Connection to Country. Filmed and edited by Craig Carter (Earthrise Production) on behalf of the Wilson Inlet Catchment Committee (WICC), part funded by the Shire of Denmark as part of the Noongar Elders Gathering Wandju Wandju Koorabup Beelia in May 2021 celebrating indigenous peoples' knowledge of waterways and connection to country: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YopIWjzPkhE

Wadandi mans connection to country

Waterways Documents

Conserving the Wetlands of Denmark brochure

Migratory and Resident Shorebirds of Wilson Inlet poster

Wilson Inlet Management Strategy 2013 - 2022

Wilson Inlet Sandbar opening protocol

Irwin Inlet Sandbar opening protocol

Parry Inlet Sandbar opening protocol

Wilson Inlet Management of Sandbar Opening Decision Tool

Website Links:

Wilson Inlet Catchment Committee

Department of Water and Environmental Regulation - river water level monitoring for the Denmark River at the Old Railway Bridge

Department of Water and Environmental Regulation - water licensing