Capel River Action Plan


The Capel River is the largest river in the Geographe Bay catchment, and has a catchment area of approximately 653 km2. The Capel River rises on the edge of the Darling Scarp, and flows across the northern part of the Blackwood Plateau and the Swan Coastal Plain before discharging into the Indian Ocean.The river flows through both the Donnybrook and the Capel Shires.

The Capel River Action Plan presents a summary of the environmental status of the Capel River foreshore, between the mouth of the Capel River and the Capel Shire boundary. It identifies issues associated with its use and management, and provides recommendations for future management of the foreshore reserve. It aims to provide landholders and the wider community of Capel with a tool to guide the use of limited resources available for weed control, erosion control and replanting of native vegetation along the foreshore reserve.

The Capel River Action Plan is being implemented in partnership with the Capel Land Conservation District Committee. Community Support Officer Rae MacPherson coordinates implementation.

  Current Activities
  • In partnership with Main Roads, Western Power and Capel Shire, a river restoration project is being developed on the Capel River reserve next to Capel Drive Road Bridge.

  • Water Quality monitoring is undertaken on 10 sites along the Capel River.

  • Two workshops on Acid Sulphate Soils were held for the Capel Shire and affected landholders.

  • A weed workshop was held in October 2003 with the Department of Agriculture.

  • Planting of an additional 500 seedlings has been completed at the Olympic landcare site.

  • Nutrient monitoring at a dairy farm to investigate impacts on the Capel River.

  • A Green Corps team has assisted in planting over 2000 seedlings at Capel Primary School.

Major Issues
  • Weed invasion - isolated areas of the foreshore were suffering from serious invasion by a variety of exotic species. Bridal creeper, fruit trees, blackberry, arum lily and blue periwinkle were particularly problematic in some sections.
  • Scouring of the riverbanks - in some cases this was resulting in bank incision and subsidence,
    which add to water quality problems and lead to alterations in the river course.
  • Loss of native vegetation - while some good quality reserves exist, in general the understorey along the margins of the Capel River was highly degraded.


Key Recommendations
  • Protect existing native fringing vegetation along the length of the Capel River.

  • Increase the amount and diversity of fringing vegetation along the Capel River by revegetating the river valley.

  • Fence some remaining sections of the Capel River where stock need to be excluded from the river valley.

  • Control a variety of weeds which are currently flourishing along much of the Capel River.• Assist with the stabilisation of the riverbanks where severe bank subsidence and undercutting is occurring.

  • A similar foreshore survey and action planshould be prepared for the upper portion of the Capel River (flowing through the Donnybrook Shire). Flow pattern and the spread of invasive weeds in this section of the river are likely to impact upon management of the river within the Capel Shire.

Locality map
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