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Alert for the Swan Canning Riverpark

Recent heavy and widespread rainfall in the catchment is causing unusually high flow into the Swan Canning Riverpark. Further heavy falls are expected into next week and a major flood warning is current for the Avon River, which flows into the Swan River.

The public are reminded that after heavy rainfall, many pollutants from streets, gardens and farms are flushed into the rivers and ocean through the stormwater systems. This can make the water unsafe for swimming, especially if you put your head under or swallow the water.

As a precaution people should avoid swimming for 3 days after significant rainfall.

Pets and livestock should also be kept out of the water at this time.

People are encouraged to visit the Department of Health’s website Tips on Healthy Swimming at:

More information on flood affected areas can be found on the  Emergency WA website.

An algal alert remains in place for the Canning River, between Castledare and Kent St Weir, due to a potentially toxic blue-green algae.

Warning signs have been erected at entry points to the river between Riverton Bridge in Shelley and Hester Park in Cannington.

The Department of Health recommends that people do not engage in any water contact recreation in that area or where there are any scums or discoloured water, due to potential skin irritation reactions or other health effects.

The Department of Health also reminds the public not to consume wild shellfish (eg: mussels and cockles) from the Swan Canning Riverpark.

Swan and Canning rivers update

A surge of freshwater from the Avon catchment last week has brought heavy loads of nutrients, organic matter and sediments into the Swan and Canning rivers prompting authorities to urge people to stay away from discoloured water.

The Department of Parks and Wildlife’s river systems manager, Mark Cugley, said State Government agencies are keeping a close watch on conditions in the Swan Canning Riverpark with more unseasonal rains forecast this week.

“This could lead to further discolouration, with foam becoming visible in parts of the river, associated with the break-down of organic matter,” Mr Cugley said.

“Currently there is discoloured water visible downstream to Fremantle on outgoing tides.

“The Health Department has general advice for people not to swim in the rivers for at least three days following significant rainfall.”

Mr Cugley said there is an important connection between the Swan Canning system and the outer Avon catchment that extends over 125,000km2, but which is not always hydraulically connected to the Riverpark.

“Because of the unseasonal influx of so much freshwater, we can’t precisely predict how the river system will react when the weather resets to normal summer conditions,” he said.

“That’s why Parks and Wildlife will keep a close watch on the developing situation through our weekly water quality monitoring and with extra sampling and patrols.”

People are encouraged to visit the Department of Health’s website Tips on Healthy Swimming at:

Riverpark alerts can be found on the Parks and Wildlife website at:

Incidents within the Riverpark can be reported on 9278 0900 or afterhours on 0419 192 845.

Media contact: Parks and Wildlife Media 9219 9999

Image: Mortlock Avon Confluence by Benedict Marillier

Published: Thursday, 09 February 2017 14:32

Fish results show rivers in good shape

Research into the health of the Swan and Canning rivers has found that the waterways are in good shape, debunking claims the estuary is dead.

  • Fish communities have improved in Swan and Canning rivers
  • New report debunks the myth that the rivers are dead

Environment Minister Albert Jacob said the 2014 Fish Community Index showed that fish communities in the Swan and Canning rivers from Mosman Park and upstream to the Swan Valley and Kent Street Weir had improved since the mid-2000s.

The fish index uses a range of metrics including diversity and number of fish species to evaluate the fish community as one measure of estuary health.

Other measures that contribute to an overall picture of river health include water quality, seagrass growth and distribution and a survey of foreshore conditions.

“The 2014 Fish Community Index assessment for the estuary as a whole is consistent with the pattern of good-fair condition assessments in recent years,” Mr Jacob said.

“In total, 35 species and more than 30,825 fish were caught and released in shallow waters and 21 species and 1,601 fish were caught and returned in deeper waters by scientists.

“It is important to note that the number of species caught in deeper water was consistent with those in 2012 and 2013.

“However, the number of species recorded in shallower waters in 2014 was notably higher than the 29 species recorded in the previous two years.”

The Minister said the rivers, like all urban waterways, were under pressure from climate change, historical land use and development, but the fish community results showed the rivers were stable.

“This year’s results reflect high and stable salinity in the rivers, higher oxygen levels and the absence of algal blooms across much of the water way,” he said.

“It’s true that some parts of the river system are healthier than others but the claim that the river is dead is just not supported by the science and monitoring.”

Fact File

  • The Fish Community Index was developed by Murdoch University over five years in collaboration with the Swan River Trust and the departments of Water and Fisheries
  • Fish communities are sampled annually at 48 sites during summer and autumn

The report is available on the Swan River Trust website.

Photo by Matt Kleczkowski

New system gives oxygen relief to Canning River

Thursday, 5 March 2015

New $1 million oxygenation plant on the Canning River is complete
Improved conditions for aquatic life

The health of the Canning River has received a boost with the completion of a third $1 million oxygenation plant to help reduce the impact of algal blooms and to prevent fish deaths.

Environment Minister Albert Jacob said the new plant at Nicholson Road doubled the capacity to provide oxygen relief to the environment upstream of the Kent Street Weir.

“It ensures that an extra 2.2 kilometres of river can have adequate oxygen levels at times when levels drop to a point which harms aquatic life,” Mr Jacob said.

Low oxygen levels mainly occur in summer and autumn and are caused by decomposition of excess organic matter and nutrients.
The Minister said the Liberal National Government had also invested another $1.4 million to upgrade the two older oxygenation plants upstream of the Kent Street Weir which service 2.3km of the Canning River.
“The two older plants, which are now 15 years old, will be upgraded using the latest technology once the performance of the new Nicholson Road plant has been confirmed,” he said.

Mr Jacob said improving oxygen levels in the river helped to provide a refuge for fish, improve nutrient cycling, speed up the breakdown of organic matter and prevented offensive odours.

The oxygenation program is one component of the State Government’s catchment to coast approach to protect and improve the health of the Swan and Canning rivers.

Other initiatives include a $4.2 million investment to build nutrient-stripping wetlands - one on the Ellen Brook in Belhus and a second at the Eric Singleton Bird Sanctuary in Bayswater - and new regulations to reduce the concentration of phosphorus in domestic fertiliser.

Fact File
The oxygenation program began in 1998 and now includes two plants on the Swan River and three on the Canning River
The plants on the Swan River are at the Guildford Road Bridge and Caversham
The program is managed in partnership with the Swan River Trust and the Department of Water.

Funds flow to community for river projects

Tackling water quality issues in the Swan and Canning rivers remains the focus of a successful landcare partnership between the Liberal National Government, Perth Region NRM and Alcoa Australia.
  • 25 groups share $335,500 for 58 landcare projects in the Swan Canning catchment
  • Projects focus on improving water quality

Environment Minister Albert Jacob today announced the 2015 funding recipients of the long-running Swan River Trust and Alcoa Landcare Program (SALP).

“A worthy 25 community groups will share $335,500 to help deliver 58 on-ground projects focused on reducing harmful nutrients and contaminants entering waterways and groundwater in the Swan Canning catchment,” Mr Jacob said.

“This is an exciting collaboration between Government, local government, environmental groups and industry that delivers positive outcomes for communities.”

The Swan River Trust and Alcoa have been working together since 1999 and once the latest round of projects have been rolled out, the partnership will have delivered more than $7.35 million to community groups to fund 1,210 projects.

The Minister said the program, managed by Perth Region NRM, allowed local environmental groups to invest time and resources into ensuring the future of the catchment.

Works this year include revegetating priority waterways, bushland restoration, dieback management, fencing to keep animals out of waterways, weed control, and the removal and management of feral pests.

Mr Jacob said while the work done by community groups was outstanding, it was also important to acknowledge the project’s partners Alcoa and the Burswood Park Board.

“I thank Alcoa and the Burswood Park Board for their important contribution to environmental projects in the Swan Canning catchment,” he said.

Fact File

  • SALP volunteers have contributed more than 154,500 volunteer hours, planted more than 2.2 million trees and revegetated 1,826ha of degraded bush
  • In 2015, SALP recipients will plant more than 104,000 trees
  • For more information, visit

Swan River Trust and Alcoa Landcare Program 2015 - Funding Recipients

North Region
Friends of Lake Claremont - $17,600
Friends of Bennett Brook Reserve - $9,900
Swan Estuary Reserves Action Group - $6,600
The Friends of Lightning Swamp Bushland - $1,650

North East Region
Chittering Landcare Group - $22,000
Ellen Brockman Integrated Catchment Group - $22,000
North Swan Landcare Group - $16,500

East Region
Eastern Metropolitan Regional Council - $9,900
Lower Helena Association - $13,200
Friends of Pioneer Park - $5,500
Bugle Tree Creek and Black Cockatoo Reserve Friends Group - $5,500
Friends of Darlington Brook - $2,420
Blackadder Woodbridge Catchment Group - $6,600
Friends of Woodlupine Living Stream - $5,500
Jane Brook Catchment Group - $6,050

South Region
Mt Henry Peninsula Conservation Group - $5,500
Armadale Gosnells Landcare Group - $42,680
Wilson Wetlands Action Group - $7,150
Bungendore Park Management Committee - $4,950
Friends of Mary Carroll Lake - $17,600
South East Regional Centre for Urban Landcare - $46,750
Bannister Creek Catchment Group - $34, 650
Roleybushcare - $4,950
Wandi Landcare Group/City of Kwinana - $9,900
Canning River Regional Park Volunteers Inc - $10,450