A flood response Incident Management Team has been regularly meeting since 6 February to coordinate Parks and Wildlife’s response to the flood events and to prepare for any incidents that may emerge such as algal blooms or fish deaths.
Now the flood and its immediate impacts on the river have subsided and harmful algal species have continued to remain below levels of concern, Parks and Wildlife has taken this team off alert. The river will continue to be closely monitored and relevant updates will be posted on the Department’s notifications and alerts webpage.
Contact recreation advice
Although the effects of the February flooding have diminished, there may still be areas of the Swan Canning Riverpark with elevated levels of waterborne bacteria.
Standard Department of Health advice is to avoid swimming in the river after heavy rainfall (more than 10mm) and to not swim in water that looks discoloured, murky or smells unpleasant.
Riverpark notifications and alertswill be used where algal species occur at concentrations that may be harmful to aquatic life or human health and requires public advice. There are no current alerts for the Riverpark relating to algae activity.
Low oxygen conditions are continuing to affect wide areas of the lower Swan and Canning rivers. These conditions are heightened by saline bottom water and fresher surface waters not mixing (more info here). The low oxygen conditions are already thought to be affecting crabs and other invertebrate fauna and fish deaths could occur in the affected areas. It is expected that these conditions will remain in place for some time and may proliferate upstream.
Members of the public are encouraged to call FishWatch 1800 815 507 to report any dead or sluggish fish in the Riverpark.
Standard Department of Health advice is that the public should not consume wild shellfish (eg: mussels and cockles) from the Swan Canning Riverpark as the quality cannot be assured. The Department of Health issues warnings regarding the consumption of fish, prawns or crabs from the Swan and Canning rivers. Please contact the Department of Health WA for further information.
Parks and Wildlife officers have removed many navigational hazards from the Swan and Canning Rivers over the past month and while skippers should exercise caution there are currently no navigational alerts issued for the Riverpark by the Department of Transport.
Parks and Wildlife officers are currently observing large accumulations of seagrass wrack at some popular Riverpark recreation areas. The seagrass die-off is a response to changing environmental conditions (e.g. light and salinity) associated with the flood flows and season.
Seagrass is a natural and important part of the river ecosystem and seagrass meadows are expected to recover from this event. Management actions will be assessed in conjunction with local riverfront councils.
Emergency information can be found on the Emergency WA website.