Natural resource management plan for the brockman river



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NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT PLAN

FOR THE BROCKMAN RIVER

CATCHMENT

Water and Rivers

Commission

WRM 33


2003

NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT PLAN 

FOR THE BROCKMAN RIVER 

CATCHMENT

Prepared by 

Rosanna Hindmarsh

Water and Rivers Commission

Jointly funded by

W

ATER AND



R

IVERS


C

OMMISSION

R

EPORT


N

O

. WRM 33



J

ANUARY


2003

Natural Heritage Trust

W

ATER AND


R

IVERS


C

OMMISSION

Hyatt Centre

3 Plain Street

East Perth

Western Australia 6004

Telephone (08) 9278 0300

Facsimile (08) 9278 0301



Cover Photograph: Brockman River, Lower Chittering

Water and Rivers Commission

Natural Resource Management Plan for the Brockman River Catchment

i

This report has been jointly funded by the Natural



Heritage Trust, Water and Rivers Commission and the

Shire of Chittering.

This report was prepared by Rosanna Hindmarsh,

Project Officer, in consultation with Dr Clare Taylor,

Water and Rivers Commission.

A number of people and organisations have helped in the

preparation of this document. 

The Steering Committee members Mr Syl Kubicki,

Water and Rivers Commission, Mr Martin Revell, Water

and Rivers Commission, Mr Gerry Parlevliet,

Agriculture Western Australia, Mr John Carter,

Conservation and Land Management, Mr Stephen

Schapera, Shire of Chittering Councillor, Mr Clinton

O’Neil, Chittering Landholder.

The Brockman River Catchment Reference Group.

Mr Mark De Beaux, Mr Brian Brocklehurst, Ms

Christine Ferguson, Mr Duncan Graham, Mr Errol

Howard, Mr David Lawn, Mr Don Prince, Mrs Ronnie

Verrall, Mr Jim Ward.

The many community members that attended the forum

provided valuable input. The community groups within

the catchment also provided support, information and

feedback.

Chittering LCDC

North Swan LCDC

Wannamal Lake Catchment Group

Gingin LCDC

Victoria Plains LCDC Management Committee.

Acknowledgments

Reference Details

ISBN 1-920687-16-5

ISSN 1326-6934



Text printed on 100gsm recycled stock,

Cover, 200gsm Sapphire Dull

January 2003

The recommended reference for this publication is:

Water and Rivers Commission 2003, Natural Resource

Management for the Brockman River Catchment.  Water

and Rivers Commission, Water Resource Management

Series, No WRM 33.


Water and Rivers Commission

Natural Resource Management Plan for the Brockman River Catchment

Summary .......................................................................................................v

1. Why we need a natural resource management plan for the 

Brockman River catchment. .................................................................1.1

1.1 The vision......................................................................................................................................1.1

1.2 Our community and their catchment. ...........................................................................................1.1

1.3 This action plan and its players ....................................................................................................1.2

1.4 The planning process ....................................................................................................................1.2

1.5 Related work .................................................................................................................................1.3

2. What we have in the Brockman River catchment................................2.1

2.1 Our natural resources ....................................................................................................................2.1

2.1.1 Climate ................................................................................................................................2.1

2.1.2 The river, major tributaries and wetlands ...........................................................................2.1

2.1.3 Landforms, geology, & soils...............................................................................................2.2

2.1.4 Native vegetation ................................................................................................................2.3

2.1.5 Native plants and animals .................................................................................................2.10

2.2 Economic, community and environmental values of 

our natural resources ..................................................................................................................2.13

2.2.1 Agriculture/horticulture.....................................................................................................2.13

2.2.2 Rural living .......................................................................................................................2.14

2.2.3 Tourism & recreation ........................................................................................................2.14

2.2.4 Landscape amenity............................................................................................................2.14

2.2.5 Spirit/sense of place. Aboriginal Heritage and 

European Settlement. ........................................................................................................2.14

2.2.6 Biodiversity .......................................................................................................................2.15

2.2.7 Intrinsic .............................................................................................................................2.15

3. What we need to do in the catchment. .................................................3.1

3.1 Framework for improved natural resource management..............................................................3.1

3.2 Managing water for improved quality and sustainability. ............................................................3.2

3.2.1 Assess and monitor water quality .......................................................................................3.3

3.2.2 Decrease the input of nutrients and other pollutants 

into the waterways. .............................................................................................................3.3

3.2.3 Improve management of saline water. ................................................................................3.3

3.2.4 Implement Water Sensitive Design immediately. ...............................................................3.3

3.2.5 Promote sustainable water use. ...........................................................................................3.4

3.3 Managing salinity and soil degradation........................................................................................3.4

3.3.1 Assess soil salinity and degradation in the catchment........................................................3.5

3.3.2 Improve ground and surface water management................................................................3.5

3.3.3 Implement erosion control. .................................................................................................3.5

3.3.4 Improve land-use planning. ................................................................................................3.5

3.3.5 Encourage further salinity research. ...................................................................................3.5

Contents

ii


Water and Rivers Commission

Natural Resource Management Plan for the Brockman River Catchment

iii

3.4 Managing waterways and wetlands ..............................................................................................3.6



3.4.1 Assess the status of waterways and wetlands. ....................................................................3.7

3.4.2  Improve management of waterways, foreshores and floodplains. ....................................3.7

3.4.3 Improve the planning process to protect waterways and wetlands. ...................................3.7

3.5 Managing and protecting native vegetation and fauna.................................................................3.8

3.5.1 Assess and monitor the status of flora and fauna in the catchment....................................3.9

3.5.2 Protect and restore native vegetation and reduce 

loss of biodiversity. .............................................................................................................3.9

3.5.3 Develop appropriate fire management strategies. ..............................................................3.9

3.5.4 Control weeds and introduced pest animals. ......................................................................3.9

4. Making it happen ..................................................................................4.1

4.1 The priority process ......................................................................................................................4.1

4.2 Time frames ..................................................................................................................................4.1

4.3 Roles and responsibilities .............................................................................................................4.1

4.3.1 Individuals...........................................................................................................................4.1

4.3.2 Landholders.........................................................................................................................4.1

4.3.3 Community groups..............................................................................................................4.1

4.3.4 Local government ...............................................................................................................4.2

4.3.5 State government agencies..................................................................................................4.2

4.3.6 Regional NRM groups ........................................................................................................4.3

4.3.7 Commonwealth Government ..............................................................................................4.3

4.4 Implementation .............................................................................................................................4.3

4.4.1 Zones ...................................................................................................................................4.3

4.4.2 Communicating the plan and its priority actions................................................................4.3

4.4.3 Coordinator .........................................................................................................................4.4

4.4.4 Getting people involved in implementation .......................................................................4.4

4.5 Monitoring and review .................................................................................................................4.4

5. Glossary ................................................................................................5.1

6. References.............................................................................................6.1

7. Appendix 1: Geomorphology and soil landscapes...............................7.1

Appendix 2: Vegetation complexes in the 

Brockman River catchment. .................................................................7.5

Appendix 3: Flora of the Brockman River catchment. ........................7.9

Appendix 4: Fauna of the Brockman River catchment......................7.15


Water and Rivers Commission

Natural Resource Management Plan for the Brockman River Catchment



List of Colour Plates

Plate 1: A star sun orchid (Thelmytra stellata) on a road verge. .............................................................2.11

Plate 2: A western swamp tortoise (Pseudemydura umbrina) released into the wild in 2000. 

This animal has a radio transmitter attached to its shell.............................................................2.11

Plate 3: A vulnerable species, a carpet python (Morelia spilota). ...........................................................2.11

List of Tables

Table 1: Spatial extent of remnant vegetation in the Brockman River catchment...................................2.3

Table 2: Landuse of remnant vegetation in the Brockman River catchment. ..........................................2.4

Table 3: Size class of native vegetation remnants by landuse..................................................................2.4

Table 4: Spatial extent of vegetation complexes pre and post clearing and currently reserved. .............2.5

Table 5: Category of threat for rare and priority fauna in the Brockman River catchment. ..................2.12

Table 6: Lands managed by the Department of Conservation and Land Management in the 

Brockman River catchment.......................................................................................................2.16

Table 7: Salt loads as recorded at the monitored gauging stations...........................................................3.2

Table 8: Actions to protect and enhance water quality.............................................................................4.5

Table 9: Actions to reduce and prevent the spread of salinity and land degradation...............................4.8

Table 10: Actions to restore the natural functions of the river channels, foreshore, 

floodplain and wetlands. ...........................................................................................................4.10

Table 11: Actions to protect and enhance natural biodiversity to sustain ecological 

processes and conserve native plants and animals. ..................................................................4.12

List of Figures

Figure 1: Catchments in the Swan-Canning catchment............................................................................vii

Figure 2: Brockman River catchment ......................................................................................................viii

Figure 3:  Salinity and depth of Lake Wannamal in spring 1979-1998 (J. Lane, CALM).......................2.1

Figure 4:  Condition of remnant vegetation ..............................................................................................2.6

Figure 5:  Landuse of remnant vegetation in the Brockman River catchment. ........................................2.7

Figure 6:  System 6 vegetation complexes in the Brockman River catchment pre-settlement. ...............2.8

Figure 7:  Remnant vegetation complexes in the Brockman River catchment.........................................2.9

Figure 8:  Proportion of Gross Value of Agricultural Production (GVAP) (Total $23 million) 

by commodity 1996/97. ..........................................................................................................2.13

Figure 9: Condition rating of the Brockman River foreshore as a percentage of the 

full reach of the river. ...............................................................................................................3.6

Figure 10: Environmental rating of the Brockman River foreshore as a percentage 

of the full reach of the river. .....................................................................................................3.6

Figure 11:  Fencing status of the main channel of the Brockman River as a percentage 

of the full reach of the river. .....................................................................................................3.6

Figure 12:  Method used to set priority for actions.....................................................................................4.1

vi


v

Water and Rivers Commission

Natural Resource Management Plan for the Brockman River Catchment

Summary


The Brockman River catchment, at 1520 square

kilometres in area, is the largest catchment in the lower

Avon and upper Swan catchments. The Brockman River

is approximately 90 kilometres in length and flows

through the Chittering Valley along the Darling Scarp.

The economy and livelihood of the landholders in the

Brockman River catchment are currently based on the

natural resources of land and water. However, the natural

resource base of the catchment is already deteriorating

and the community are concerned by this deterioration

and recognise the implications of declining  native

vegetation, poor water quality, salinity and soil

degradation.

In 1996, discussions between Water and Rivers

Commission Regional Services in Northam, Western

Australian and local government authorities in the

catchment documented their requirements for natural

resource management. The Shire of Chittering

responded to these discussions by wanting to improve

the water quality in what they saw as the much-neglected

Brockman River and its catchment. Together they

developed a successful funding application through the

Natural Heritage Trust Fund to prepare an integrated

natural resource management plan for the Brockman

River catchment.

The natural resources within the catchment were

assessed and documented to establish baseline

information. From this information, targets and priorities

were set out.

The preparation of this Management Plan followed a

forum to which 70 community people attended. The

issues and ideas that came from this forum were

developed into this management plan. It was developed

with community input and is designed for use by the

community to address the issues of concern by sorting

out what’s really relevant and practical and building on

that through a catchment approach.


vi

Water and Rivers Commission

Natural Resource Management Plan for the Brockman River Catchment

Natural resource management plan for the Brockman River catchment

Vision

To restore balance between the environment,



community and economy of the

Brockman River catchment.

Mission

Working with the community, we will manage and



develop the natural resources of the

Brockman River catchment to pass

on to our children.

Objectives

Objective 1

To protect and enhance

the quality of the water

in waterways, lakes

and groundwater to

meet the needs of

the community and

environment.

Objective 2

To reduce and prevent

the spread of salinity

and soil degradation;

ensure sustainable

land use and increase

profitable production.

Objective 3

To restore the natural

functions of the river

channels, foreshores,

floodplains and

wetlands through

protection

and rehabilitation.

Objective 4

To protect and enhance

natural biodiversity to

sustain ecological

processes and

conserve native

plants and animals.

1.1 Assess and

monitor water quality.

1.2 Decrease the input

of nutrients and

pollutants into the

waterways.

1.3 Improve

management of saline

water.

1.4 Implement water



sensitive design

immediately.

1.5 Promote

sustainable water use. 

Strategies

Strategies

Strategies

Strategies

2.1 Assess soil salinity

and degradation in the

catchment.

2.2 Improve ground

and surface water

management.

2.3 Implement

erosion control.

2.4. Improve land

use planning.

2.5 Encourage further

salinity research.

3.1 Assess the status

of waterways and

wetlands.

3.2 Improve

management of

waterways, foreshores

and floodplains.

3.3 Improve the

planning process to

protect natural

resources.

4.1 Assess and monitor

the status of flora and

fauna in the catchment.

4.2 Protect and restore

native vegetation and

stop the loss of

biodiversity.

4.3 Develop

appropriate fire

management strategies.

4.4 Control weeds and

introduced pest

animals.


Actions

Actions


Actions

Actions


vii

Water and Rivers Commission

Natural Resource Management Plan for the Brockman River Catchment

Figure 1: Catchments in the Swan-Canning catchment.


viii

Water and Rivers Commission

Natural Resource Management Plan for the Brockman River Catchment

#

#



#

#

#



#

#

#



#

#

#



#

#

Lower Chittering



Cachionalgo Hill

Chittering

Wannamal

Bindoon


Figure 1 - The Brockman River Catchment

N

E



W

S

9



0

9

18 Kilometers



Shire of 

Wanneroo


Shire of 

Chittering

City of Swan

Shire of 

Toodyay

Shire of


Victoria Plains

Shire of 

Gingin

Figure 2: Brockman River catchment.


1.1

Water and Rivers Commission

Natural Resource Management Plan for the Brockman River Catchment

Let’s bring the catfish back to the Brockman!

1.1 The vision

The Brockman River Catchment Group, made up of

representatives from the community, have a shared

vision for the future of the Brockman River and its

Catchment. 



VISION

To restore balance between the

environment, community and economy of

the Brockman River catchment.

It is hoped that you will all join with them to undertake

this mission.

MISSION

Working with the community, we will

manage and develop the natural resources

of the Brockman River catchment to pass

onto our children.

1.2 Our community and their

catchment

At 1520 square kilometres, the Brockman River

catchment is the largest in the Swan River catchment

(figure 1) with sixty-eight sub-catchments identified

within the catchment boundary (Lloyd, 2000). While the

Brockman River flows into the lower Avon River and is

thus, part of the Avon River catchment, its greatest

impact is on the Swan River and is therefore considered

part of the Swan River catchment. The Brockman River

itself follows the Darling Scarp, flowing through the

deeply incised Chittering valley to enter the Swan- Avon

River 40 kms upstream from Perth. 

The greatest part of the Brockman River catchment lies

within the Shire of Chittering (figure 2). The principal

urban area within the catchment is the township of

Bindoon. Other localities within the catchment are

Wannamal, Mooliabeenie, Lower Chittering, Maryville

Downs and South Chittering.

Currently, an estimated 3,000 people live in the

catchment. Most of the population resides in Bindoon,

rural residential estates or on farming properties.

Generally, farms in the northern portion of the catchment

are larger enterprises to about 2000 hectares. Properties

in the southern part of the catchment tend to be smaller

with many subdivisions containing 2 to 20 hectare lots.

The economy of the Brockman River catchment and the

livelihood of its residents are currently based on the

natural resources of land and water. Land use in the

north of the catchment is mainly sheep and cattle

grazing, and cropping of cereals, canola, lupins and hay.

In the south, it is mainly horticulture such as citrus and

grapes. 


Large areas of native vegetation remain in the eastern

part of the catchment in the Avon Valley National Park,

the proposed Julimar Conservation Park (currently State

Forest) and in the Department of Defence Bindoon

Training area. Other areas of native vegetation in the

catchment are located within the ten CALM nature

reserves and on some private property.

The Brockman River meanders through four wetland

reserves, the Mogumber, Wannamal Lake, Betts and

Chittering Lakes Nature Reserves, as it flows southward

to the Avon River. 

The natural resource base of the catchment is

deteriorating because of widespread clearing of native

vegetation and the increased economic pressure on

agricultural land to be more productive. This leads to

problems of increased salinity, waterlogging, erosion

and pest plant and animals.  Waterways are also affected

by increased sediment loads and reduced water quality.

The Shire of Chittering has an estimated population of

2594 in 1999 with a population growth of 7.1%.

Projections suggest that by 2016, 3232 people will reside

in the Shire (Bureau of Statistics, 2001). The North East

1. Why we need a natural resource

management plan for the 

Brockman River catchment


1.2

Water and Rivers Commission

Natural Resource Management Plan for the Brockman River Catchment

Corridor Extension Strategy (2000) estimates that by

2026, 9,750 people will reside in that study area of

which 5350 would be new residents. However, the

Brockman River catchment only includes that part of the

study area in east Bullsbrook indicating that the

population growth in the catchment probably falls

between 3232 and 9,750 over the next 15 to 20 years.

Other local government areas within the catchment are

mostly farming areas in which population growth is

assumed to remain static or decline.

To support this predicted population increase, the

southern area of the catchment has been identified in the

Avon Arc Sub-Regional Strategy (1999), the Northeast

Corridor Extension Strategy (2000), and the Chittering

Town Planning Scheme 6 (2002) as an area suitable for

rural residential subdivision (Shire of Chittering TPS 6,

2001). 


Community members in the Brockman River catchment

are concerned by what they see and recognise the

implications of declining native vegetation, poor water

quality, soil salinity, erosion, nutrient runoff and rural

drainage issues. Failure to address these issues in the

future will impact on the whole community. 

All these issues are related and cannot be looked at in

isolation. An integrated plan for action is needed, with a

shared vision for the future to prevent the natural

resources in the catchment degrading further.

1.3 This action plan and its players

This natural resource management plan is a tool to help

individuals, groups, local government authorities and

government agencies to first agree on priority issues and

then to determine the best actions to address the issues.

It will then become a practical blueprint to improve the

land and waterways in the Brockman River catchment.

It is presented in a loose-leaf binder in order to ensure it

is a working document and not one that sits on a shelf.

Sections can be updated, added to, or shuffled in priority

as necessary. New supporting information can be filed at

the rear of the Plan as it comes to hand.

Individuals living and managing land in the Brockman

River catchment are key players in this natural resource

management plan. They are the ones who can make the

most difference and it’s their resources at stake. 

Existing groups of individuals involved in natural

resource management are:

•  Brockman River Catchment Group, set up as a

reference group to gain community input into the

planning process

• Chittering 

LCDC

• Gingin 



LCDC

•  North Swan LCDC

•  Wannamal Lake Catchment Group

• Toodyay 

LCDC

Local government authorities are important stakeholders



in natural resource management. The Brockman River

catchment encompasses five local government

authorities. The Shire of Chittering encompasses the

greater proportion of the Brockman River catchment

(53%) and is one of the major proponents in the project.

The remaining area of the catchment falls within the

Shires of Toodyay (19%), Gingin (18%), and Victoria

Plains (5%). The southernmost part of the catchment

east of Bullsbrook is part of the City of Swan (5%). 

State government agencies involved in natural resource

management in the Brockman River catchment are:

•  Department of Environment, Water and Catchment

Protection (DEWCP) (amalgamating Water and

Rivers Commission and Department of

Environmental Protection);

•  Water and Rivers Commission;

•  Department of Environmental Protection;

• Department 

of 

Agriculture;



•  Western Australian Planning Commission, Ministry

for Planning (now Department of Planning and

Infrastructure;

•  Department of Conservation and Land Management;

• Westrail;

• Main 


Roads 

Western 


Australia.

The Water and Rivers Commission is the lead agency for

this project.

1.4 The planning process

In 1996, the Water and Rivers Commission Regional

Services office in Northam carried out discussions with

surrounding local government authorities to document

their requirements for natural resource management. The

Shire of Chittering responded to the initiative seeing it as

an opportunity to improve the water quality in what they

saw as the much-neglected Brockman River and its

catchment. 



1.3

Water and Rivers Commission

Natural Resource Management Plan for the Brockman River Catchment

Together, the Water and Rivers Commission and the

Shire of Chittering applied for funding through the

Commonwealth Government Natural Heritage Trust

Fund to develop an integrated natural resource

management plan for the Brockman River catchment.

This application was successful and Water and Rivers

Commission appointed a project officer. The following

process has been carried out:

•  Appointment of a steering committee of five people

representing Water and Rivers Commission,

Department of Agriculture, Department of

Conservation and Land Management, the Shire of

Chittering and the community to advise the project

officer; 

•  A public forum and workshop was held in Bindoon on

20th March 2000 to discuss and record community

concerns and outline the issues within the Brockman

River catchment;

•  Community members were invited onto the Brockman

River catchment Group as a reference group to

provide community input into the planning process;

• The condition of the Brockman River has been

assessed by the project officer and documented;

•  Completion of the draft Integrated Natural Resource

Management Plan;

• A review of the draft management plan by the

community and other stakeholders.

The next step is to:

•  Prepare a final report incorporating the outcomes of

the review process.

To make this plan happen there is a need to:

•  Develop an implementation of the plan;

•  Outline methods to encourage continued involvement

of the wider community, local community groups and

all stakeholders in the protection and enhancement of

the natural resources in the catchment;

•  Ensure endorsement of the plan by other agencies and

local government authorities that can influence the

recovery of the Brockman River and its catchment

and to incorporate the plan into their own goals;

•  Undertake appropriate performance monitoring and

evaluation that will lead to evaluation and refinement

of policies, strategies and management plans. 

1.5 Related work

Several plans and strategies relating to the natural

resource base of the Brockman catchment have been

conducted. These include:

– The Swan Region – a Natural Resource

Management Strategy. (2002). Swan Catchment

Council Western Australia (public comment).

–  Natural Resource Management Plan for the Avon

River Basin. (2001). Avon Working Group.

– Swan-Canning Clean Up Program Action Plan.

(1999). Swan River Trust.

–  Shire of Chittering Local Planning Strategy.

(2002).

–  Town Planning Scheme 6. (2002). Shire of



Chittering.(public comment).

– Groundwater Information and Management



Options for the Brockman River Catchment.

(2001). Water and Rivers Commission.

(Unpublished).

– Salinity Survey in the Shire of Chittering. (2002).

Ken Angell. Department of Agriculture.

–  Shire of Chittering Land Capability and



Management Study. (1999). Land Assessment Pty

Ltd. 


–  Degradation in the Brockman River & Ellen Brook

Catchments.  (2000). B. Lloyd. Department of

Agriculture.

–  Avon Arc Sub-regional Strategy. (1999). Western

Australian Planning Commission.

–  Northeast Corridor Plan.

(2000). Western

Australia Planning Commission.

– Roadside Vegetation; undervalued and under



threat. Developing a Management Plan and Code

of Practice for the Shire of Chittering, Western

Australia.  (2001). Kristy A. Oliver. Curtin

University of Technology. 2001.

This plan does not duplicate this work, but rather links

with and draws on these studies. It attempts to integrate

their findings and management recommendations, sort

out what’s really relevant and practical, then filter and

build on them through a catchment approach from a

community point of view – people on the ground.



2.1

Water and Rivers Commission

Natural Resource Management Plan for the Brockman River Catchment

2.1 Our natural resources

The major assets of the catchment are identified as the

primary natural resources:

• Water;

•  Soils and other geological formations, and;

• Natural 

biodiversity.

In addition, it is necessary to consider related assets

when addressing the environmental, economic and

social aspects of natural resource management. These

are:


•  Primary production, and;

•  Cultural assets, which include indigenous and non-

indigenous aspects and social aspects such as

amenity, intrinsic values and landscape values

(Mount Lofty Ranges INR management Group, 2002).




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