The Ramsar Convention is an international treaty on the conservation of important wetlands.

Australia was among the first five member countries of the Ramsar Convention, and the first to nominate a wetland for listing. 

Australian Ramsar wetland sites

Australia has 65 Ramsar sites, covering more than 8.3 million hectares.

Being a signatory to the Ramsar Convention, Australia has undertaken to ensure our internationally important wetlands are conserved.

The federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, protects Australia's Ramsar wetlands by applying consistent management principles and arrangements between the Australian Government and the states.

Any activity that may have a significant impact on a Ramsar wetland goes through a rigorous environmental assessment and approvals process.

  • Mullet Lake
    Mullet Lake - Photo © J Higbid/Parks and Wildlife
  • Peel-Yalgorup
    Peel-Yalgorup - Photo © K Wilson

Ramsar wetland sites in Western Australia

There are 12 Ramsar wetland sites in Western Australia.

Parks and Wildlife has the lead role in recommending suitable wetlands to the state government for nomination on the List of Wetlands of International Importance via the Australian Government and the Ramsar Bureau.

This process involves consulting with key stakeholders and preparing nomination documents containing details of the values and other features of each wetland.

The 12 Ramsar wetlands in Western Australia
Site (and further information)Ramsar information sheetMap              DescriptionManagement plan
Becher Point Wetlands pdfBecher Point398.54 KB pdf 102 KB In preparation pdfRockingham Lakes Regional Park2.38 MB
Eighty Mile Beach pdfEighty Mile Beach193.1 KB pdf188.77 KB pdfEighty Mile Beach3.79 MB

pdfEighty Mile Beach Marine Park5.98 MB

pdfSouthwest Kimberley4.1 MB

Forrestdale and Thomsons Lakes pdfThomsons Forrestdale308.72 KB pdf 30 KB pdfForrestdale and Thomsons Lake6.04 MB

pdfForrestdale Lake Nature Reserve631.45 KB

pdfThomsons Lake851.77 KB

Lake Gore pdfLake Gore393.02 KB pdf58 KB pdfLake Gore3.48 MB pdfEsperance and Recherche Parks20.84 MB
Lake Warden System pdfLake Warden246.97 KB pdf267 KB pdfLake Warden System4.29 MB pdfEsperance and Recherche Parks20.84 MB
Lakes Argyle and Kununurra pdfArgyle Kununurra151.67 KB pdf669 KB pdfLakes Argyle and Kununurra 4.23 MB  
Muir-Byenup System pdfMuir Byenup254.88 KB pdf298 KB pdfMuir-Byenup System2.2 MB pdfPerup4.35 MB
Ord River Floodplain pdfOrd River Floodplain604.14 KB pdf669 KB pdfOrd River Floodplain 6.16 MB pdfOrd River and Parry Lagoons Nature Reserves5.27 MB
Peel-Yalgorup System pdfPeel-Yalgorup 300.05 KB pdf1.3 MB pdfPeel-Yalgorup System5.74 MB
pdfSwan Coastal Plain South3.73 MB
pdfLake McLarty2.63 MB
pdfPeel-Yalgorup18.61 MB
Roebuck Bay pdfRoebuck Bay261.82 KB pdf238 KB pdfRoebuck Bay 4.63 MB

pdfYawuru Nagulagun/Roebuck Bay Marine Park4.33 MB

pdfYawuru Birragun Conservation Park3.2 MB

Toolibin Lake pdfToolibin Lake372.19 KB pdf835 KB pdfToolibin Lake1.39 MB

pdfToolibin Lake4.9 MB

pdfToolibin Lake Supporting Information

pdfToolibin Lake Summary905.24 KB

Vasse-Wonnerup System pdfVasse-Wonnerup 521.77 KB pdf1.0 MB pdfVasse-Wonnerup System7.76 MB

pdfTuart Forest National Park1.62 MB

pdfSwan Coastal Plain South3.73 MB

World Wetlands Day

On 2 February each year, World Wetlands Day, the Cockburn Wetlands Education Centre holds the Annual Western Australian Management Conference to exchange information and ideas between wetland practitioners, with a focus on the latest developments on managing and restoring wetlands.

Wetlands of national importance

Lake Ballard, DIWA Site - Photo © S Kern

As a key part of their commitment to recognising Australia's most important wetlands, all state, territory and commonwealth governments have jointly compiled a Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia.

The Directory identifies more than 800 nationally important wetlands, and provides a substantial knowledge base of what defines wetlands, their variety, and the many plants and animals that depend on them.

It includes information about their social and cultural values, and some of the benefits they provide to people. It is a valuable tool for managers and others interested in Australia's important wetlands.

Visit the Australian Wetlands Database for up-to-date information on nationally important wetlands.

Wetlands are identified as nationally important if they:

  • provide a good example of a wetland type occurring within a biogeographical region in Australia
  • play an important ecological or hydrological role in the major functioning of a major wetland system/complex
  • provide important habitat for animals at a vulnerable stage in their life cycles, or a refuge when adverse conditions (such as drought) prevail
  • support at least one per cent of the national populations of any native plant or animal species
  • support nationally threatened plant or animal species, or ecological communities
  • are of outstanding historical or cultural significance.

Of the 904 currently listed nationally important wetlands, 65 are recognised as internationally important under the Ramsar Convention.

Lake Quallilup - Photo © M Coote and H Smith

Western Australia's nationally listed wetlands

Western Australia has 120 nationally important wetlands and wetland systems covering more than 2.5 million hectares.

  • Most of these wetlands occur within existing or proposed reserves managed by Parks and Wildlife.
  • Some occur on private property or pastoral lease, or lands for other purposes so their conservation depends on community assistance through programs such as Landcare, Land for Wildlife or Healthy Wetland Habitats.

Camp site bookings go online for Karijini National Park

Securing a camp site at the popular Karijini National Park is now easier with the introduction of an online booking system for Dales Campground.

Karijini National Park is Western Australia's second largest park and, with more than 350,000 visits in 2017-18, is one of the State's most popular destinations.

The park offers spectacular rugged scenery, ancient geological formations, rich cultural heritage values and a range of recreational experiences.

Dales Campground is accessible by regular two-wheel drive cars and features 140 individual sites suitable for large tents, caravans, campervans and camper trailers, with facilities including barbecues, picnic tables and toilets.



$22 million funding boost for prescribed burning

The McGowan Government is delivering a $22 million funding boost to DBCA's Enhanced Prescribed Burning Program over four years, via the 2019-20 State Budget.

This is in addition to the department's annual prescribed burning budget allocation of $11 million for the south-west of the State.

Research shows that prescribed burning is effective in reducing the frequency and size of bushfires in the forests of south-west Western Australia when at least 45 per cent of the landscape has a fuel age of less than six years since last burnt.

To realise this target in the three south-west forest regions it manages, DBCA's Parks and Wildlife Service aims to prescribe burn at least 200,000 hectares each financial year.



Wayward rescued sea turtles released off Exmouth

Twenty-one juvenile loggerhead turtles that washed ashore along the south-west coast will today be flown from Perth to Exmouth to be released into Ningaloo Marine Park.

The release is part of a joint effort by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA), the community and rehabilitation centres to help conserve the critically endangered species, with only an estimated 1500 to 2000 females known to nest annually in WA.

The juvenile turtles drifted ashore during storms over the past 18 months after travelling southwards in the Leeuwin current, and were reported to DBCA by community members.

DBCA Parks and Wildlife Service wildlife officer Cameron Craigie said the turtles had received intensive medical care at Perth Zoo before being rehabilitated at AQWA and the Bunbury Dolphin Discovery Centre.

“These young turtles normally wouldn’t come ashore for several decades until they are ready to breed, but thanks to the exceptional care provided to them, and the support of Qantas Freight, they will now be able to return to the sea and hopefully become mature breeding adults,” he said.