Wetlands and Waterways

Human use activity has had a major impact on wetlands and waterways through vegetation clearing, pollution, water usage and encroaching development. Most of the wetlands occur on the Swan Coastal Plain area of the City and have been most affected by agricultural land use.

There are five Conservation category wetlands in the City, including the Vasse-Wonnerup system (which is recognised internationally as a RAMSAR listed wetland).


Revitalising Geographe Waterways is a State Government initiative to improve water quality, waterway health and management of Geographe Waterways. The program is delivered through partnerships and is overseen by the Vasse Taskforce.

The City of Busselton represents a key partner within the Vasse Taskforce and will work alongside the other partners including:

  • Department of Water 
  • Shire of Capel 
  • GeoCatch 
  • Busselton Water 
  • Water Corporation 
  • Department of Parks and Wildlife 
  • Department of Agriculture and Food WA 
  • Department of Planning 
  • Department of Fisheries 
  • South West Catchment Council 
  • South West Development Commission

Over the next four years, projects and activities will focus on improving water quality across five key water assets – Geographe Bay catchment, Vasse-Wonnerup wetlands, Lower Vasse River, Toby Inlet and rural drainage networks.

Key outcomes for Revitalising Geographe Waterways:

  • reduce nutrients from significant sources in the catchment 
  • implement a program to achieve water quality improvements through investigations and on-ground works
  • build capacity and appoint a lead agency or body to manage each water asset 
  • develop a contemporary waterways management framework with clear objectives and management plans 
  • develop a long-term business investment framework sustaining initiatives into the future 
  • ensure community and industry participation and involvement

Revitalising Geographe Waterways is currently funded for four years through $7.15 million in Royalties for Regions funds. An additional $7.65 million is being contributed through partner organisations.

Key projects and initiatives delivered through Revitalising Geographe Waterways will cover a range of on-ground works and provide opportunities for community to be involved in determining how to manage the water assets into the future.

Key initiatives include:

  • Geographe Bay catchment 
  • Vasse Wonnerup wetlands 
  • Lower Vasse River 
  • Toby Inlet 
  • Rural drainage networks

For more information on the Vasse Geographe Strategy check the Geocatch website here


The Lower Vasse River and Toby Inlet Waterway Management Plans (WMP) are key projects of the Revitalising Geographe Waterways (RGW) Program, to improve water quality and ecosystem health for these waterways. The City of Busselton has been developing these WMPs in collaboration with the community and other stakeholders that have a role in future implementation of the WMPs. The consultation process has been central to developing the draft vision, objectives and management strategies. Review of existing resources and outcomes from additional investigations have also informed the WMPs.

The Waterway Management Plans for the Lower Vasse River and Toby Inlet were adopted by Council on 22 May 2019 as guides to future planning. Actions of the Waterway Management Plans will be implemented as resources and funding permit.