Cowaramup coastal management plan released

Research area: The draft Cowaramup Bay Coastal Management Plan covers the 1.4 kilometre stretch of coastline between South Point and North Point. Photo: Supplied.
Research area: The draft Cowaramup Bay Coastal Management Plan covers the 1.4 kilometre stretch of coastline between South Point and North Point. Photo: Supplied.

A new coastal management plan recommending greater protections for Cowaramup Bay amid increasing demand for recreational access has been released for public consultation.

The Cowaramup Bay Coastal Management Plan covers the 1.4 kilometre stretch of coastline between South Point and the North Point boat ramp.

The plan, which features 14 overarching recommendations, was developed earlier this year by sustainability consultants Litoria Ecoservices for the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River.

The draft document outlines a series of objectives, developed based on feedback from four months of consultation with residents, the broader community, stakeholders and shire staff, as well as threats to the bay.

Litoria Ecoservices identified increasing recreational pressure, the growing tourism industry and climate change as the primary threats to the future of the bay, which currently supports a host of marine activities.

Increasing populations within Cowaramup and Margaret River, coupled with growing tourism exposure and numbers, result in increasing demand and pressure for recreational access to all aspects of Gracetown and Cowaramup Bay.

Sustainability consultants Litoria Ecoservices.

Though the marine values of the site are recognised in the Capes Ngari Marine Park Management Plan, the feedback obtained indicated that the community was eager to see stronger restrictions in place while facilitating sustainable recreational activity.

The community reported a desire for more information and understanding of aboriginal cultural values, greater environmental protection of the brook, foreshore revegetation, dune stabilisation and disabled access to the water to be facilitated at Swimmers Beach.

Car parking pressures were also reported to be a major issue for the North Point, particularly during ideal surfing or fishing conditions, with respondents calling for overflow areas, as well as safe pedestrian and bicycle access from the town centre.

The plan proposes involving traditional landowners in the operation of a seasonal Aboriginal cultural walk through the bay in a bid to create greater understanding among the community.

Litoria Ecoservices recommended revegetation be undertaken and signage improved in each of the five zones, as well as greater control of harmful weeds and erosion.

Among the recommendations for each site is a proposed $35,000 three-year on-ground works plan, which features weed control programs, brushing stations, revegetation and fencing.

The consultation period for the plan is expected to close on Friday, October 4, before feedback is presented to the shire council for the plan's endorsement.

For more information, or to provide feedback, contact Merryn Delaney at mdelaney@amrshire.wa.gov.au