Situated on the outskirts of Busselton, the Vasse-Wonnerup estuary is recognised as one of the most important areas in the state for waterbird habitat. More than 30,000 waterbirds visit the estuary each year, including a range of migratory species. This important role as waterbird habitat led to the Vasse Wonnerup being listed as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention in 1990.
Despite the estuary’s significant natural values, the Vasse-Wonnerup can suffer from water quality problems in the warmer months including algal blooms and fish deaths. These are largely a result of nutrient enrichment, leading to favourable conditions for algal growth and often low oxygen conditions that can affect fish health.
Following ongoing concern from the community about water quality issues, the state government established the Vasse Taskforce in October 2014 to tackle water quality problems in the Vasse-Wonnerup and surrounding areas. The initiative, called Revitalising Geographe Waterways is providing $7.15 million to implement priority projects.