Department of Parks adn Wildlife

Globally, climate change is recognised as one of the most serious environmental issues faced today. It is predicted to bring rising sea levels, shifting rainfall patterns and altered frequency and size of extreme climate events.

It is thought to be accelerated by the burning of fossil fuels by humans and increases in greenhouse gas levels, which results in escalating atmospheric temperatures. This affects cloud cover, rainfall, wind patterns, ocean currents and the distribution of plant and animal species.

Managing impacts

Parks and Wildlife recognises that the potential impacts of climate change will alter the ecological function of the Swan and Canning rivers and the way people interact with them. Rising water levels, changes in biodiversity and reduced stream flow are among the impacts of climate change predicted for the Swan Canning Riverpark.

Perth’s riverside location means management practices in the Swan Canning Catchment will need to accommodate understanding of climate change impacts throughout the region.

In 2007 a Technical Advisory Panel published a comprehensive paper on the potential impacts of climate change on the Swan and Canning rivers. This provides an overview of climate change impacts and potential adaptation strategies for the Swan Canning Catchment. A summary paper is also available.


 Further reading

Responding to climate change

We are already seeing localised effects of climate change:

The Swan Canning river system is responding and will continue to respond to a series of drivers:

The Technical Advisory panel has predicted the changes that might occur in the river system:

Parks and Wildlife’s response to climate change effects is based on an adaptive management approach. This is a systematic process of continually improving management policies and practices to reduce or accommodate the adverse impacts of climate change.

Adaption and mitigation strategies identified for the Swan Canning Riverpark include:

Climate Change Risk Assessment Project

In 2010, a Climate Change Risk Assessment Project was developed to enable local government to assess the vulnerability of foreshore assets in the Riverpark to climate change-induced sea level rise. This project produced a risk assessment methodology to give local government the ability to plan, prioritise and manage the risks to the Riverpark’s economic, social and ecological assets. It can also be used by other foreshore land managers. The methodology includes a checklist of infrastructure, social and environmental assets. The project area spans from Fremantle traffic bridge to Windan Bridge on the Swan River and Riverton Bridge on the Canning River. A case study was also developed with support from the City of Perth to look at the potential effects of climate change at Point Fraser in the Swan River.


  Climate Change Risk Assessment Project