Info on the dead seagrass and the associated smell along the beaches in Safety Bay.
I know for many residents this is a major concern and is something that is questioned on a fairly regular basis. One common question is “Why does the city remove dead seagrass from other beaches, but not in Safety Bay”
In short, because we’re not allowed to. The beaches along Safety Bay Road form part of the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park, and because of this the Dept of Biodiversity, Conservation an Attractions places restrictions on what can and cannot be done within the park.
For a more thorough explanation from senior City of Rockingham staff read on. A link to more information from the Dept of Fisheries is available at the end of this post.
Unfortunately the issue of the dead sea grass (wrack) on the Warnbro Sound foreshore is a constant issue for our residents with an expectation that the City should remove this material to improve the amenity of this beach. Please note that the City does remove wrack from other foreshore areas where there is a need to provide increased recreational amenity (such as Rockingham Beach). For this reason, there is often an assumption that the City is purposeful in not providing beaches in Waikiki and Warnbro of the same standard as elsewhere.
This is clearly an area where the City needs to improve its communication with residents and visitors for the following reasons.
- The Warnbro Sound foreshore is subject to conditions from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation an Attractions (DBCA) restricting beach cleaning activities due to the proximity and potential impact on the Shoalwater Marine Park.
- The DBCA have placed a specific restriction on the removal of wrack from these beaches for a number of reasons.
- The decomposing seagrass provides necessary nutrients to support insects, crustaceans and other fauna living in the sand as well as returning nutrients to the living seagrass, which then supports a range of marine animals. Thus the decomposing seagrass is an essential part of the food chain for a number of species.
- The seagrass provides protection to the beaches and dunes from erosion by wind and water.
With significant impacts on sea grass beds in other areas (such as Cockburn Sound) the protection of sea grass beds in Warnbro Sound is a priority for the City and DBCA as the two management authorities, working in partnership with other stakeholders.
I have attached a link to an article that speaks to the importance of protecting sea grass and wracks. I direct your attention to the top right of page three which speaks specifically to this topic.