Welcome to our eNews! Oyster Harbour Catchment Group's Noongar seasonal newsletter will keep you up-to-date on the big stories affecting the catchment and what we are up to.
 acknowledge the Minang Bibbulmun people as the traditional custodians of the land on which we work and live. We pay our respects to the Elders, past, present, and emerging and to the wider Bibbulmun community. 
Have difficulty viewing content?  View this email in your browser

Issued: 12/12/2021
What's Been Happening in Oyster Harbour Catchment
Birak E-Newsletter

First summer December-January
Season of the young Dry and hot, Burning time

Like us on Facebook!
New website coming soon!
Main Stories:
2021 Albany Show 

We had a blast at this year's Albany Agricultural Show. We had a steady flow of people attending our display, with many kids eager to play with our catchment model shooting down feral animals and seeing how water flows through the landscape. They were then awarded the chance to play the "taste-test" lolly game. This game demonstrates the importance of having diverse bushland for native animals versus it being weed infected. While the kids were busy with the games there was plenty of information for the adults to read up on and posters illustrating the wide variety of activities Oyster Harbour Catchment Group carries out and members can be involved with. This lead to many interesting talks and even a couple of new members.Welcome on board!

We had a few new additions to the display: a farm planning whiteboard, an example of DIY soil testing equipment and a new possum pal. In particular, the possum puppet (that was donated to us) and Bruce's corresponding squeaky voice was a new crowd favourite. It got a lot of laughs, helping us with the display helping to teach the younger kids about Ringtail possums and feral animals. 

We were thankful that we could participate in such a great show, that everyone seemed to enjoy our stall and are really proud of receiving the best community group stall of 2021. 

Kalgan Queen Cruise and Annual General Meeting

It was the perfect way to spend the morning boarding the Kalgan Queen with the Oyster Harbour Catchment team inviting collaborators in discussions and reflection on the health of the Oyster Harbour.

Firstly we set sail to the mouth of Yakamia creek where Natalie Reeves (South Coast Natural Resource Management) gave a summary of the problematic creek line and the implementation of her project putting into action a community awareness program for the coming year. If you would like to be involved, please contact Natalie via email: This then led to a general conversation on monitoring of the Yakamia creek and Yakamia sewage facility with recent contamination issues.

Passing Green Island and heading to the Leeuwin Coast Oyster farm Geoff Bastyan explained the early trials and of planting Seagrass in the mid-1990s with the broad-scale recovery seeming to be well underway into the future. There is no doubt the labour of passion and determination Geoff.  These early works must be recognized for the current aquaculture activities now taking place in the Oyster Harbour.  Acknowledging the collaborative effort OHCG, Government, Community and Groups in the catchment assisting with improved heath of Oyster Harbour for over 30 years.

Kim Walsh (DPIRD) covered the ‘Albany Aquaculture Development Zone’ with the consultation of WA’s aquaculture industry and key stakeholders identifying suitable areas for shellfish farming in Oyster Habour with actives within the zone, benefits to community and region and management and practices established to ensure the industry remains environmentally sustainable.   For frequently asked questions go to: Aquaculture Development Zone FAQs.pdf

Jude Tyzack: Projects & Community Engagement Officer office for Leeuwin Coast) explaining the befits of new technologies in the development of the new Oyster lines with the wide spacing not only increase yield but the added befit to the fishery and water quality, positioning of the lines and the movement of lines decreasing the shadowing effect on Seagrass. Removal of all treated pine poles from the previously acquired holdings had been completed and upgraded. Leeuwin Coast is excited about the role the oyster lines will play in encouraging fish species back into the area as has occurred in other sites around the world with local anglers already trying their luck in between the lines. The Leeuwin Coast team has been assisting with several cleanups along beaches and other hot spots.

Brue Radys delivered the good news that the declining water quality from the late 1970s and 80s had significantly improved and seagrass recovery was remarkable. This was largely due to a decrease in nutrient runoffs. Although monitoring of the catchment is critical to the future of the health of the catchment the full report can be accessed by this link:

Nikoli Sykora from the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation for the planning of intensive industries.
Before heading back to mooning a pleasant cruise up to the Kalgan Bridge drinking Tea or Coffee and eating damper with Captain Bruce taking over steering the boat. It's fair to say all had a very educational and pleasant morning on the Oyster Harbour and Kalgan River.

An enormous thank you to, stakeholders and presenters that joined the cruise, the productive conversations that followed all with a common goal ‘The Health of Oyster Harbour and Catchment’.
The best in the world and Oyster Harbour is ours to take care of!  

Kendenup Bushland Management Group

Our small dedicated group has been regularly removing the Acacia pycnantha wattle seedlings and regrowth from around town and along the firebreaks near the railway line south of the town. This is undertaken by walking and manually cutting, brushing the stumps with roundup and some collar spraying with diesel access.

The main focus for our group is the Eastern State woody weeds, mostly the Acacia pycnantha (golden wattle) but also a few stray Acacia longifolia (Sydney golden wattle). Other significant weeds in and around Kendenup are the tagasaste, freesias (which are spreading) and the ubiquitous bridal creeper. A few new locals are wanting to help with the freesias next winter. 

The Shire was going to spray along Chauvel Road as there was a very large mass of regrowth of silver wattle after they removed some huge trees a few years ago. At this stage, it looks like it will not be done as they have handballed it back to us. Noche Murdoch has focused on the eradication of regrowth areas of tagasaste and Acacia pycnantha along Jutland, Beattie and Toone Rd which was more than our group could handle. This was a great help.

We have arranged for the Plantagenet Shire to take over the responsibility of weed management and maintenance of the town gardens and skate park recreation area due to the dwindling volunteer base. There has been a good rapor with the gardening team who have consulted regularly with us regarding fragile areas of native vegetation.
With the influx of newcomers arriving and developing their small blocks now there is a real need for constant weed education and also to promote the value and the uniqueness of the remnant native bush. The native vegetation on the verges is also in danger of disappearing with all this new development here. This awareness has mainly been through dialogue, positive local interaction and discussion but we feel a letterbox drop is the best way to reach everyone here. Maybe in the New Year, we will focus on a way forward with this.

We wish everyone a Happy Christmas and a positive, fruitful and enthusiastic start to the New Year 2022.

Val Saggers
Kendenup Bushland Management Group.
Native Oyster Update

We have recently been updated by the Nature Conservatories and UWA's Sonja Pascho. See below.
The Nature Conservatory also had an update about the new Oyster Habour native oyster reefs recently. They have just launched a very bold initiative to build 60 reefs alongside communities including expanding on their Albany project. Making Australia the first nation in the world to recover a critically endangered marine ecosystem. This is great for the Albany community who has been one of the only estuaries in the world that have been able to restore our seagrass. 

Project officer Brett Dal Pozzo was a welcome and familiar face that used to work at South Coast NRM. It was great to see him refreshed and passionate about the next reef going in. 

See more here at

The next steps for this project are:
> incorporate community and stakeholder feedback into our planning. This will include finalising proposed locations and reef designs.
> continue consulting directly with stakeholders, working with our Technical Advisory Group and seeking relevant approvals through regulatory authorities. In the meantime, they would love to hear your thoughts on the proposed plans. Please fill out our quick 3 minute survey. 
Oyster Harbour Bivalve Research Project UWA Albany, Marine Biology Honours
Our investigation into the bivalve food web in Oyster Harbour is making good progress.
Winter weather conditions delayed the first round of sampling but the first of the potential bivalve food sources were collected in August. We scraped the sediment for benthic algae, collected periphyton (algae growing on rocks and other hard surfaces) and sampled water from around Oyster Harbour as well as from the lower reaches of the Kalgan and King Rivers and Yakamia Creek. Using stable isotope analysis, these samples will give us an indication of the range of ‘stable isotope signatures’ of different foods that shellfish in the estuary might be consuming.
After collecting potential foods, it was time to hunt for cockles. With the help of a number of volunteers, we covered eight sites in Oyster Harbour and two in Princess Royal Harbour over six days in September. Sometimes it took a lot of digging and sieving but we managed to reach our sample quota (a minimum of 15 individuals) at every site, except the mouth of the Kalgan River where we only found aquatic snails and two pippis.

Afternoon low tides gave us access to the flats for cockle collecting and meant some of us caught some spectacular sunsets. Other days felt like a battle with the elements. At Emu Point, Kathy and Ben (who have been amazing, regular volunteers) braved almost howling wind and rain that felt like hail (and maybe was hail!). The wind tipped over our floating bucket twice and we had to chase down a small mess of escaped equipment. It was a field lesson learned. After that day the rule is to always have a weight in the bucket to keep it steady whatever the conditions.

Research always includes challenges and discovery. We found our target species Katelysia scalarina wasn’t at every site, however other species (Katelysia rhytiphora and Katelysia peronii) were. Finding Katelysia throughout the estuary confirms the genus has potential as a bioindicator for estuary health in Oyster Harbour. The genus is found across southern Australia in sheltered bays so it may also prove useful in other regions, depending on our results.

Distinguishing Katelysia species can be difficult, so we’ve enlisted the help of Dr. Lisa Kirkendale from the WA Museum to help us with identification. Dr. Kirkendale is the head of Aquatic Zoology and a mollusc specialist. With her support, shells and genetic material from our sampled cockles will be added to the museum’s collection of bivalve material.

The project has earned additional recognition and backing in the last few weeks. I’m happy, humble and grateful to have been awarded the Keith Sheard travel prize for UWA marine biology honours for semester 2, 2021. This will give me the opportunity to stay on campus and make the most of my time at the West Australian Biogeochemistry Centre where I will be preparing samples for stable isotope analysis. Travelling to Perth will give me to the opportunity to meet Dr. Kirkendale and other Perth-based specialists and academics in person. 
Some of our samples have now been analysed and I’m excited to see the data come through. Our initial stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis of particulate organic matter (POM) from filtered water samples shows terrestrial or riverine POM (Kalgan River, King River and Yakamia Creek) and marine POM (Emu Point) have distinct ‘signatures’ (see figure below). The grouping of values for the northern, eastern and western sites suggests currents are affecting the mixing of POM in the estuary. Still, these are only our very first results and the picture may change with more data.  More than ever, I am now looking forward to starting my full analysis once the summer round of samples is completed.

During the last months of 2021, I’ll be preparing more samples stable isotope analysis. This means dissecting cockles, drying gill and muscle tissues and cleaning and drying the other potential bivalve foods we collected. The summer round of fieldwork is scheduled for January and February so I’ll be preparing for that as well. It feels like 2022 is just around the corner. Onward and upward!

Sonja Pascho - Progress report, Nov 2021
This project is supported by the Oyster Harbour Catchment Group, the Jock Clough Marine Foundation, the Arjen Ryder Scholarship, GSDC NRM Sustainability Scholarship, Destinations Australia Scholarship and Keith Sheard Travel Award.
Thanks to additional supporters: Albany Shellfish Hatchery, the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (Albany), Dr. Lisa Kirkendale (WA Museum), Tracey Brothers (Albany Senior High School), Geoff Bastyan (Environmental Consultant), Dave Tunbridge (Scientific Officer, UWA) and many wonderful volunteers. Project supervisors: Greg Skrzypek and Harriet Paterson
This work, including images, is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)  
Heartland Journeys is an exciting new online guide to the places, people and nature of the Great Southern: Aiming to take visitors beyond the scenic and recreational values of the Great Southern and provide deep dives into this biological wonderland, while also showcasing community efforts to restore ecosystems and farmland to health. HEARTLAND JOURNEYS is intended for visitors and locals who have these interests.
It features audio and video stories from Heather A, Peter L, Tim Saggers, Lucia and others.  There are quite a number of places listed in the Oyster Harbour catchment and Ranges Link with more to come. Our ‘Nature insights’ segment includes ‘What is a biodiversity hotspot’, ‘Remarkable plants’, ‘Kwongan’, ‘Honey possum’, Invertebrates’, ‘Life on granite’, and more of these ‘fact sheets’ are being
Produced by Gondwana Link, this guide is for visitors and locals wanting to learn more about the natural wonders and cultural richness of the Great Southern, as well as the globally significant landcare and eco-restoration programs underway.
Heartland Journeys brings together an interactive map, self-drive journeys, biodiversity information, and a trove of multi-media stories, including a podcast for on-the-road listening. Hear from Noongar Elders, landcarers and people passionate about the natural values of this region.
All this information will help visitors take a deep dive into this biological wonderland and hear directly from the people who know it best.
We’re adding more Great Southern stories, information, places and journeys. Please contact Marg Robertson if you have any feedback or suggestions:
Protect the Porongurup Range campaign 

The Friends of the Porongurup Range are deeply concerned about the Porongurup National Park Trail Masterplan being proposed by the Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions (Parks and Wildlife) without consideration of its impact on the Park’s fragile ecosystem.

The quite recent tragic destruction of the Juukan Gorge Cave in the Pilbara, containing evidence of human occupation going back 46,000 years, is a timely and vivid reminder of how such culturally and scientifically important indigenous sites must be protected against any development. The biodiverse and cultural significance and ecological fragility of the Porongurup National Park are different to the Pilbara, but wanton damage is unnecessary. 

It is the strong opinion of the Friends of the Porongurup Range that bike trails should not be considered either by the Project Reference Group or the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA). 
see more...

Dr Kingsley Faulkner AM
Friends of the Porongurup Range
Project Reference Group representative
Trails Concept Masterplan Porongurup National Park 
8 December 2021

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

Diljba Events

The team is on break for January, the office will be closed

Future Sustainability Summit (18 to 20 January 2021)
Tue Jan 18th 1:30am - Thu 20th 11:00pm
Future Sustainability Summit (18 to 20 January 2021)

Penguin Awareness Day
Thu Jan 20th 1:00am - 11:30pm

Australia day.jfif
Australia Day
Wed Jan 26th 2:00am - 11:00pm
This is the Story of Australia - the story of an extraordinary nation. Beginning more than 60,000 years ago. New chapters are written every day. 

World Wetlands Day
Wed Feb 2nd
World Wetlands Day is celebrated internationally each year on 2 February. It marks the anniversary of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention) ..

Oyster Harbour Community Update
Wed Feb 2nd
The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) and Oyster Harbour Catchment Group are providing an update on Oyster Harbour. Come along to hear from DWER, Oyster Harbour Catchment Group and other project partners investigating and protecting the health of the harbour. Presentations will cover the latest water quality data and projects to improve the health of the estuary.

CofA biofilter1

International Day of Women & Girls in Science
 Fri Feb 11th 1:00am - Sat 12th 11:00pm

Screening Breathing Life into Boodja
25th Feb, 5pm to 7pm
Plantagenet Town hall
Breathing Life into Boodja is a good-natured and galvanising portrayal of the conservation work being conducted by farmers, scientists, environmentalists, the Aboriginal community and local groups. Together, they are restoring and healing land around the Porongurup and Stirling Ranges as part of an ambitious 1000 kilometre effort to restore ecological connections

SIXTEEN LEGS is an inter-linked suite of projects focussed around the world of antipodean CAVES and CAVE BIOLOGY. It reports on the results of a 30-year scientific research project, 2 years of filming, and hundreds

Sixteen Legs: Enter the Cave Exhibition

Fri Apr 29th 5:30-6:30 pm 
Screening of Sixteenlegs Documentary and QnA

Thu May 5th 10:00am - Mon 30th 3:00pm
Sixteen Legs: Enter the Cave Exhibition Coming to the Porongurup Hall May 2022! A National travelling exhibition showcasing: caves, cave biology and the work behind finding out what makes this unique

See calendar: 

Renew Your

only $11 for individuals
see here

Your membership helps foster
a prosperous, vibrant community for present and
future generations within the
Oyster Harbour Catchment
through encouraging best
-practice natural resource
management and supporting
vital “hands-on” activities such
as revegetation, workshops,
community meetings, and
educational trails.

In return not only are
you supporting a great local
cause but you also get:

We are currently
running 6 projects
in the catchment. 

If you wish to be a part of
the; Holistic Property
Planning, REI's Healthy
Estuaries Initiative, uPtake
trials, National Landcare
Partnership, South Beef working group, Investigation of local historic NRM and/or Plantagenet Shire
weed control projects as a
volunteer or landholder.

We also heavily support two
other groups that you can be
involved in: the Albany
and Surrounds Feral
Cat Working group and the
Southern Beef growers group.
Please check our website for
more information or contact us

Other Help

Greening Australia Revegetation project EOI

OHCG Fencing subsidy

Water Audit Rebate:
Up to $1000 to check your
farm's water supply coming
into summer https://www.water

Mental Health 
Assistance, R U OK?
regional mental health

You can find more grant
and funding opportunities
from the following websites:
The Australian Government
Disaster Assist website
provides information on
financial assistance available
for current disasters and
information on previous disasters.
Caring for our Country
Department of Agriculture 


What's in Your

The Angasi oyster (Ostrea angasi) is also commonly known as Flat oyster. They are bivalve molluscs belonging to the family Ostreidae, roughly egg-shaped with valves of unequal size and shape. The shell margin is slightly irregular and is white or cream in colour on the inner surface and purplish-green to olive-brown or grey on the outer shell surface. They are plankton feeders, filter algae from the water and play an essential part in the ecological processes within the estuarine environment. The flat oyster can attain around 25 cm in diameter but are commonly less than 10 cm. Found throughout the marine and estuarine habitats of southern Australia, from mid-NSW to the southern parts of Western Australia and Tasmania. They usually attach themselves to hard substrates before later breaking free to settle on sand or soft mud. These oysters live in the subtidal zone from about 2 to 20 m depth.

The environment in which an oyster lives can largely determine its shape (ie. they can be irregular in shape when attached to hard rocky bottoms or very flat when found in soft bottoms). This sometimes makes it difficult to identify oyster species. To distinguish and classify oyster species it is often useful to examine the internal characteristics.

Explore your own backyard or patch of bushland and upload photos of what you see to iNaturalist.

Oyster Harbour Catchment is located in the Southwest Australia biodiversity hotspot, one of only 36 biodiversity hotspots in the world. Many of our animals, plants and fungi can be found nowhere else in the world. By contributing to this project you are helping to map this diversity which will in turn help with efforts to conserve remaining areas of natural and restored habitat. Explore your own backyard or patch of bushland and upload photos of what you see to iNaturalist.

The recent bio blitz results are attached below

The Team

Bruce Radys
Senior Project Officer:
Healthy Estuaries WA

Bruce works part-time,
oversees, and helps the other
staff and works on the
Healthy Estuaries WA Program,
funded by Royalties for Regions.
He aims to improve the quality of
water entering the Oyster Harbour
through the implementation of
fencing and revegetation of
riparian vegetation, and
working with farmers to implement
best practice management,
including soil testing
in high rainfall areas. 

0428 994 408 | 9851 2703

Sheena Smith
Farm Planning
Project Officer

Sheena works part-time
to manage our farm planning
project, helping enable
strategic property planning, running Southern Beef
and informing landholders
on best-practice

0427 214 707

Sayah Drummond 
Communications Officer 

Sayah works part-time to
ensure landholders and the
the wider community are aware
of and can be involved in,
the many exciting OHCG
projects. This includes the
maintenance of our website,
Facebook and email list, while
also trying to make sure
our community/
membership interests
are reflected in all upcoming works. 

0408 423 306 | 9851 2703

Jenni Loveland
Volunteer ASFCWG
Project Officer

Jenni is very passionate
about feral animal control
and works part-time facilitating
a Feral Cat Project and running
the Albany and Surrounds
Feral Cat Working Group (ASFCWG).
This group concentrates
on the issues that we
have in and around the
catchment with feral cats.

0409 572 240 | 9851 2703

Help Needed 
Sayah is looking for people interested in history and Landcare to help with consolidating the group history and going digitizing our archives. We try to meet in the afternoon at the Mount Barker office every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon.

What Happened
Last Season?

Sun Dec 5th
World Soil Day

18th-24th Oct   
     Aussie Backyard Bird Count

25th Oct   
   Public comment closes for WA vegetation policy

23rd Oct   
   Building bat boxes workshop

18–24 October
Aussie Backyard Bird Count

  Great Southern Bioblitz- Oyster Harbour Catchment

15th of Nov
WA Water Policy public comment closes

25th of Nov
Oyster Harbour Catchment Group's Annual General Meeting

Like us on Facebook!
New website coming soon!
  Renew Your Membership  only $11 for individuals see here


Copyright © 2018 Oyster Harbour Catchment Group Inc., All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
PO Box 118, Mount Barker, W.A., 6324

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Oyster Harbour Catchment Group · PO Box 118 · Mount Barker, Wa 6324 · Australia

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp