Natural Resources Management

Over the past 150 years the Greater Geraldton landscape has been modified by European agriculture to the point that there is less than 15% of pre-European vegetation remaining. The most significant remaining areas are in the Chapman and Greenough River catchments that are important areas of wildlife habitat. The Moresby ranges are also an important landform and natural resource of the region and are under consideration for management for conservation and community recreation.

The marine environment contains a valuable natural resource and biodiversity for the region. Although the marine areas are under the jurisdiction of Department of Fisheries and Department of Transport the City has an active interest in the future of these areas and also responsible for monitoring the marine life associated with the dive wreck The South Tomi located 3km off the Geraldton coast.

What is Natural Resource Management?

Australia's natural resources are under grave threat from climate change, water scarcity, pollution, the legacy of past land management change such as inappropriate land clearing, feral animals, weeds, and unsustainable farming practices and inappropriate development, particularly in coastal and peri-urban areas.

The City is an active participant in the regional Natural Resource Management (NRM) activities and people in local government are well positioned to promote NRM integration through providing local expertise and facilitating on-ground actions. Local government is also a significant land manager in its own right and manage its lands within an NRM framework. Local planning laws are integral to sustainable NRM.

Conservation Reserves

Conservation reserves are areas of Crown land set aside for the protection and conservation of biodiversity and/or natural or cultural heritage values. There are three main types of conservation reserve in WA – nature reserves, national parks, and conservation parks.

Nature reserves are established for wildlife and landscape conservation, scientific study and preservation of features of archaeological, historic or scientific interest. Recreation that does not harm natural ecosystems is allowed, but other activities are usually not permitted.

National parks are also established for wildlife and landscape conservation, scientific study, preservation of features of archaeological, historic or scientific interest, but are also able to be used for enjoyment by the public. They have national or international significance for scenic, biological or cultural values.

Conservation parks have the same purpose as national parks but do not have the same national or international significance (though they have significant local or regional value for conservation and recreation). Land is usually reserved as a conservation reserve rather than nature reserve or national park when there is a potential competing land use.

There are 65 Conservation Reserves in the Midwest Region managed by the City of Greater Geraldton.

Weeds of National Significance (WoNS)

Thirty two Weeds of National Significance (WoNS) have been identified by Australian governments based on their invasiveness, potential for spread and environmental, social and economic impacts. A list of 20 WoNS was endorsed in 1999 and a further 12 were added in 2012.

Information on the selection process is available on the Weeds Australia website.

Did you know that these plants are on the WONS list?

African Boxthorn - Introduced as a garden or hedge plant in the mid-1800s. Now a serious weed, particularly on neglected land in arid temperate Australia. May produce thickets that become refuges for feral animals.

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Boneseed - First recorded in Australia in 1852 and commonly cultivated in gardens. This plant is a major environmental weed in south-eastern Australia. Widespread in winter rainfall areas and generally replaces Bitou Bush along the NSW south coast. Not an agricultural problem as bushes are susceptible to trampling and are eaten by stock.

Asparagus - Asparagus is widely cultivated for its edible green shoots (spears). It dies back to ground level in winter, producing a succession of shoots through late spring and early summer. Asparagus is widely naturalised near habitation in cooler parts of Australia and in temperate areas around the world. It may be a minor weed in some places.

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Tamarisk - Introduced to Australia in about 1930. Salt tolerant and drought resistant. Useful as a windbreak and shade tree and its timber can be used for fence posts and firewood. Also used to stabilise sand dunes and to revegetate disturbed arid areas, a notable example occurring at Broken Hill, NSW. Now naturalised along 400 km of Finke River, NT and along Gascoyne River near Carnarvon, WA. Crowds out native vegetation. Salt excreted from leaf glands often increases surface soil salinity and eliminates less salt tolerant plants. Potentially a threat to many inland rivers.

Lantana Camara L. - Lantana is one of Australia’s most damaging invasive weeds. It is an aggressive invader that has naturalised in eastern Australia under a wide range of climatic conditions and is recognised as a major weed of pastures, plantations and native forests. Since its introduction to Australia as an ornamental plant in the early 1840s, lantana has spread to infest more than four million hectares of eastern Australia, from southern New South Wales to northern Queensland, and has invaded areas of the Torres Strait Islands, Northern Territory and Western Australia. In recognition of its impacts on primary industries, conservation and biodiversity, and the extent of its distribution in Australia, lantana has been named a Weed of National Significance.