Bid for estuary barrages from local man

A MANDURAH resident has called on barrages to be built at the ocean entries of the Peel-Harvey Estuary in an effort to protect the environment.

Peter Forrest, a retired resident with extensive experience as a professional practitioner and academic in various environmentally related fields, said the barrages could help control the environmental conditions of the estuary.

“Barrage construction at the ocean entries … will drastically reduce mosquito breeding in the Peel waterways as well as protect against rising sea levels,” Mr Forrest said.

He said he had been working full-time for two years on his own voluntary initiative to research complex future problems confronting the estuary.

“The greatest threat is currently increased salinity resulting from both the opening of the Dawesville Cut in 1994 and deep dredging at the mouth of the inlet in Mandurah,” he said.

“Greater exposure of the largely land-locked estuary to ocean tidal activity arising from these man-made initiatives, implemented over a lengthy period, for what were earlier thought to be sound reasons, has resulted in major unpredicted changes that are increasing both human health risks and making negative changes to the local ecology.

“The increased breeding of troublesome saltmarsh mosquitoes, at peak times of summer outdoor activity by residents and visitors, can be traced back to greater salinity and increased tidal fluctuations arising from further opening up of the estuary to saline sea-water entry.

“The general ecology is also being drastically changed by this and is also threatening wildlife, notably the internationally renowned concentration of numerous wild-bird species.”

Mr Forrest said the barrages would be adjustable to open and close flexibly according to tidal and flood cycles.

He said it would be costly but the future of the estuary relied on it.

Mr Forrest also proposed a number of other initiatives including wider setbacks for building around the estuary and the input rivers, a substantial on-going research programme to record detailed ecological information not currently available and a new professional management team responsible specifically for controlling development in and around the estuary.

He said part of the funding for these initiatives was proposed to be from a levy on development on all surrounding land draining into the estuary.

He has written several detailed papers on the topic and will readily share his work.

Anyone interested can write to him at PO Box 52 Mandurah, WA, 6210 or email forrestpeterh@gmail.com

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