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Projects

Estuary Guardians Mandurah are always working on new projects and organising events to better raise awareness of protecting our waterways & wildlife in Mandurah. Here are some of the projects we have carried out since Estuary Guardians Mandurah was established in 2015. Stay tuned to our facebook page for upcoming projects and events that you can be a part of. If you have any ideas, we're always keen to hear them so, please reach out to us at estuaryguardians@gmail.com 

“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
― Jane Goodall

Mandurah Dolphin Fin Book
2016 - Current

John Tonkin Students worked with Mandurah Volunteer Dolphin Rescue Group, Mandurah Dolphin Research Project (Murdoch University) and Mandurah Cruises to create a fin book that would help the community identify Mandurah’s dolphins and understand their behaviours. Funding was sourced to produce the books.

Following the success of the first edition, the Department of Biodiversity, Conservations and Attractions (DBCA) provided support to produce high quality updated editions and tie it into a Dolphin Watch citizen science program - similar to that already established in Perth.

Four editions have been produced to date, with the latest in 2020 where 2,000 books were printed. The latest fin book is available for download HERE or hard copies can be found at Estuary Guardians Events and Mandurah Cruises Gift Shop.

Mandurah Fin Book Foreword
"By becoming familiar with the dolphins and having more eyes on the estuary, our community can become more connected to the local environment and more protective of it." - Professor Lyn Beazley AO FTSE

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Kids Teaching Kids / Education Program
2016 - Current

Following the creation of the Mandurah Dolphin Fin Book, the students at John Tonkin College created an interactive education program that that they took to schools in Mandurah, even hosting a cruise on Mandurah's waterways!

 

The national Kids Teaching Kids program strives to connect Australian students with their local environment, empowering them to become advocates for their surrounding environment and shift from what they will do to what they can do in this moment. 

Our education offering at Estuary Guardians Mandurah has since grown to our expert team providing FREE interactive school incursions for ages daycare/pre-school to year 12, talks at private community groups, education stalls at community events and regular dolphin forums. For more information on our education program see our Education page.

Mandurah Dolphin Forums
2016 - Current

To keep the community updated on our dolphin population in Mandurah, Estuary Guardians decided to hold regular Dolphin Forums (information events). At these FREE community events we've had Mandurah Dolphin Research Project scientists Dr Krista Nicholson, Dr Nahiid Stephens and Martin Van Aswegen present their projects and results, our Mandurah Volunteer Dolphin Rescue Group and Mandurah Cruises provide updates on the dolphin population and John Tonkin College present projects they are working on in the Peel-Harvey Estuary - such as the Black Bream project.
 

Stay tuned to our News & Events page and Facebook page for upcoming Dolphin Forum events. We'd love to see you there!

We thank the various venues in Mandurah who have provided venue sponsorship for us to be able to hold such events.

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Estuary Guardians recognised the harm that fishing line and tackle was having on our dolphins, water birds and other wildlife. John Tonkin College students, led by science teacher Barbara Sing, worked on a project to have fishing line bins installed at fishing hot spots around Mandurah, to provide a safe and easy way to dispose of unwanted fishing line and tackle.

We started with 5 bins initially, however this has now significantly grown. Mandurah now has 23 bins installed and in use, thanks to the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation & Attractions supplying the additional bins and incorporating all into their statewide Reel it in campaign.

We have wonderful volunteers who empty and audit the bins on a weekly basis. If you are interested in volunteering as new bins are added please email us at estuaryguardians@gmail.com 

Equipment and training is provided and you will be registered with the Parks and Wildlife Service Volunteer Program - and covered by their insurance.

Fishing Line Bins
2017 - Current

Dolphin Watch Mandurah
2018 - Current

Our community had been equipped with Mandurah Fin books and the next step was to provide them with a platform to record their dolphin sightings. This data would compliment the Mandurah Dolphin Research Project and assist in developing a deeper understanding of the lives and needs of the dolphin population in the Peel-Harvey Estuary.

Working with Department of Biodiversity, Conservation & Attractions River Guardians, their citizen science program Dolphin Watch was expanded to Mandurah.

3 training nights have been held to educate the community about our dolphins and teach them how to report their sightings using a dolphin watch mobile app. Reporting is now via the new Marine Fauna Sightings mobile app. There are now more then 230 registered dolphin watchers in Mandurah.

Stay tuned to our News & Events page and Facebook page for upcoming Dolphin Watch training nights.

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Lionel's Legacy - Monitoring Cameras
2019 - Current

Mandurah has been identified as a dolphin stranding hotspot, with the average depth throughout the 134 square kilometre Peel-Harvey Estuary, only half a metre! Large parts of the estuary and rivers are extremely remote and can be inaccessible at times, which makes it hard to spot dolphins in trouble.

 

In September 2018 Lionel, a subadult male was found deceased, having stranded on a remote, dangerous sandbar upstream in the Serpentine River. After his death, it was recognised more had to be done to ensure other dolphins don't suffer in this manner. The Lionel's Legacy project was established with Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, with monitoring cameras installed at such dolphin stranding hotspots in the Serpentine River.

 

The monitoring cameras enable faster response times to rescue Mandurah's dolphins. Mandurah Volunteer Dolphin Rescue Group are able to view live-streamed video to check for dolphins and assist when necessary.

Long team goal: Cameras overlooking all the major stranding areas in the Peel-Harvey Estuary and rivers.

This $40,000 project was supported by funding through Department of Biodiversity, Conservation & Attractions, Peel-Harvey Catchment Council (through funding from the Alcoa Foundation), City of Mandurah, Rotary Club of Mandurah and donations from members of the public.

Threats to Mandurah's Dolphins - Video
2021

Mandurah's resident dolphins fish, play and grow their families in the Peel-Harvey Estuary. But being a dolphin here has it's challenges. Thanks to sponsorship by Rotary Club of Mandurah we were able to have a video produced about such challenges - stranding, boat strikes, shark attacks, fishing line entanglement and litter ingestion and Morbillivirus - and what the community can do to protect them.

Watch the video on our YouTube Channel:

Mandurah's Dolphins - How to Protect Them

Simple ways we can all ensure their safety are:

Dispose all of your litter and fishing line responsibly.

When in your boat keep to the speed limit, avoid driving over or through groups of dolphins and give them space - watch from a distance, especially if young calves are present.

Keep an eye out for stranded dolphins.

If you find an injured, entangled, stranded or deceased dolphin call DBCA Wildcare Helpline 9474 9055 and Mandurah Volunteer Dolphin Rescue Group 0407 090 284.

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Clean Waterways Working Group

In August 2019, a 15-month old Mandurah dolphin, Luca, died after becoming entangled in fishing line for the third time in six months. Luca’s death sparked an incredible community response, drawing widespread attention to the impact of discarded fishing line and other waste on our marine wildlife. The Clean Waterways Campaign was developed as a collective response to Luca’s death, and the larger issue of waste in our waterways. It brings together existing research partnerships and community groups, along with government and local business to jointly develop new ways to engage the local community in caring for our waterways and the wildlife that relies on them.

The Clean Waterways working group consists of representatives from City of Mandurah, Coastal Waste Warriors, Estuary Guardians Mandurah, Mandurah Cruises, Mandurah Volunteer Dolphin Rescue Group, Peel Harvey Catchment Council, Sharon Meredith Photography and Tackle World Miami.

Here are the projects by the Clean Waterways Group, with more still in the works!

Luca’s Legacy Annual Clean Up Event
2019 - Current

Resident dolphin calf Luca, who died as a result of fishing line entanglement, spent most of his time in the Dawesville cut. This area is popular for fishers, constructed as a channel framed by rock wall and lined with purpose built fishing platforms. It was evident there was a lot of pollution around this recreational hotspot, that was ending up in our waterways. There was also concern expressed for excessive amounts of pollution on the Creery Wetlands and Islands, which ends up there due to wind and tidal movements in the Estuary.

 

The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation & Attractions (DBCA) River Guardians and the Clean Waterways Group decided to hold a BIG clean up day in loving memory of Luca, which has now become an annual event - held in October. Over 450 people have attended the annual clean up event since the first one in 2019, collecting over 1,400kg of rubbish!

The clean up is spread across two sites - Site 1: Dawesville Cut and Site 2: Creery Wetlands & Islands. Mandurah Cruises host site 2, ferrying volunteers to and from the Creery Wetlands & islands, as they are only accessible by boat. Local dive clubs also volunteer their time, cleaning up under bridges and fishing platforms.

This family friendly event is supported by DBCA River Guardians, with community group stalls, a free lunch and prize raffle to be enjoyed after cleaning up.

The rubbish collected is all recorded using the Tangaroa Blue Data Collection sheets, so that we can identify the main types of rubbish found, work on ways to stop pollution at its source and compare results each year.

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Plastic Free Mandurah
2020

Single use plastics are plastic items which are used once, then thrown away. If not disposed of correctly they can enter our precious waterways, where sunlight, wind, and wave action break down the plastic waste into small particles, but it never fully disappears. Plastic is dangerous for our environment, as it releases toxins, can be mistaken by wildlife as food and cause injury and entanglement.


The Clean Waterways Group developed a Plastic Free Guide - A collection of simple switches to help people go plastic free – which can be downloaded HERE.


“You don't need a full house makeover to start reducing plastic in your life. We suggest you choose to focus on one item or area of your life, and once you feel confident in that change, move onto the next item. By making changes at a comfortable pace, switching to sustainable options won't be as overwhelming.” – Plastic Free Mandurah


We can all play a role in reducing the amount of plastic we use, to create a more sustainable Mandurah. 

Accidental Littering - Video Campaign
2020

Mandurah is a city built around its waterways and so, rubbish often ends up in there, blowing from the land or boats. On many occasions such littering isn't intentional and rather accidental. The Clean Waterways Working Group recognized the issue and decided to come up with a campaign to make people to be more aware of accidental littering, show the effect it is having on our environment and wildlife, and suggest small changes to habits to prevent it from entering our waterways.

A series of 5 videos were produced and shared across social media with the slogan "Clean Waterways, They're No Accident. Be a Champion for the Waterways"

Watch the videos on our YouTube Channel:

Video 1 - Dolphins

Video 2 - Fishing Bait Bags

Video 3 - Birds

Video 4 - Coastal Waste Warriors

Video 5 - Scoop For Our Town

We Like Binned Butts
2021

The Clean Waterways Group Mandurah were excited to release the music video “We like binned butts”. This video is the result of a great collaboration with students from John Tonkin College who reworked the lyrics to the 90’s hit “We like big butts”. Along with the music video, the campaign also includes the installation of cigarette butt bins and 48 posters, which were designed by John Tonkin College students. Cigarette Butts are the number one litter item, in Mandurah (and the world!) and this campaign aims to raise awareness of the damaging environmental impacts when not disposed off responsibly. 

Watch the video on our YouTube Channel:

We Like Binned Butts

This project was supported by Keep Australia Beautiful.