Benthic algae and seagrass of the Walpole and Nornalup Inlets Marine Park.
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The Walpole and Nornalup Inlets Marine Park located on WA’s south coast is a discrete estuarine system comprising two connected inlets and the tidal reaches of three rivers. This estuary is relatively unusual in this region because its mouth is permanently open to the sea instead of being periodically closed by a wave-generated sand-bar. This means that marine-like conditions prevail within the inlets for most of the year, except during periods of high rainfall when freshwater flows from the rivers into the inlet basins.
This inlet system has not experienced the significant environmental degradation present in many other estuaries in south-western WA, and its remarkable scenery and surrounding forests has made the inlets a focus for recreational activities for many decades. These very high ecological and social values led to the Walpole and Nornalup inlets being made a marine park in 2009.
Since formation of the marine park, scientists from DEC’s Marine Science Program and the WA Herbarium have been working with the local management staff to undertake research that will improve our capacity to manage this remarkable area and preserve its ecological and social values. During 2010, this included making the first dedicated survey of benthic algae and seagrasses in the marine park, which turned up some surprising results.
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