Article Index


Swan Coastal Plain

Over a quarter of the land between Wedge Island and Dunsborough is wetland. Intact wetlands are exceptionally important ecosystems across this area, supporting an array of unique and important species of plants, animals, algae, fungi and bacteria.

By area, 20 per cent of wetlands across the Swan Coastal Plain retain high ecological values, making them the highest priority for conservation (conservation management category). About 72 per cent of wetlands have been degraded to the extent that they are not a priority for conservation (multiple use management category).

The Geomorphic Wetlands Swan Coastal Plain dataset displays the location, boundary, wetland typeand management category of wetlands of the Swan Coastal Plain ( pdfmap963.8 KB—does not meet accessibility criteria).

  • Wetlands are mapped at a scale of 1:25,000.
  • Parks and Wildlife is the custodian of this dataset.

The dataset can be viewed via Landgate’s public map viewer Locate. The dataset can be downloaded free via the WA government data portal.

This dataset has been recognised and endorsed by the Wetlands Coordinating Committee, the Environmental Protection Authority and the then Department for Planning and Infrastructure as comprehensive wetland mapping, classification and evaluation which provides the basis to guide planning and decision making by the Environmental Protection Authority, the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions and the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage.


What do the wetland management categories mean?

The wetlands on the Swan Coastal Plain have been evaluated, and assigned a management category. Wetland management categories provide guidance on how they should be managed and protected.

Wetland management categories and objectives applied to the Swan Coastal Plain (adapted from Environmental Protection Authority 2008)

Management category

General description

Management objectives


Wetlands which support a high level of attributes and functions.

Highest priority wetlands.

Objective is to preserve and protect the existing conservation values of the wetlands through various mechanisms including:

  • reservation in national parks, crown reserves and State owned land
  • protection under Environmental Protection Policies
  • wetland covenanting by landowners.

No development or clearing is considered appropriate. These are the most valuable wetlands and any activity that may lead to further loss or degradation is inappropriate.

Resource enhancement

Wetlands which may have been partially
modified but still support substantial
ecological attributes and functions

Priority wetlands

Ultimate objective is to manage, restore and protect towards improving their conservation value. These wetlands have the potential to be restored to Conservation category. This can be achieved by restoring wetland function, structure and biodiversity.
Protection is recommended through a number of mechanisms.

Multiple use

Wetlands with few remaining important
attributes and functions

Use, development and management should be considered in the context of ecologically
sustainable development and best management practice catchment planning through landcare.

Requesting changes to the Geomorphic Wetlands Swan Coastal Plain dataset

The dataset was originally digitised from the 1996 report, Wetlands of the Swan Coastal Plain Volume 2B Wetland Mapping, Classification and Evaluation: Wetland Atlas (Hill et al.).

As custodian, the department has regularly made changes to the dataset to reflect changes to wetlands.

How to apply for a dataset modification:
  • Requests to modify the geomorphic boundary of a wetland within the Swan Coastal Plain dataset should consider the guidance provided in the information sheet pdfWetland identification and delineation: information for mapping and land use planning on the Swan Coastal Plain145.61 KB
  • Where intended changes to land use are being proposed, it is important to ensure that submissions to the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions are made well in advance of submitting proposals to decision making authorities, to ensure adequate time for consideration of the proposed changes, and any changes to be made.

The wetland management category assigned to a Swan Coastal Plain wetland can be reviewed using pdfA methodology for the evaluation of wetlands on the Swan Coastal Plain, Western Australia which includes user-friendly templates for conducting wetland evaluations and site assessments.