The following provides answers and guidance to the most common environmental queries the City receives. If you need to know more, please contact the City's Environmental Management team on 9397 3000.
People who find sick, injured or orphaned native animals, such as parrots, kangaroos, bandicoots, woylies or possums on the sides of the road, in parks, suburbs, paddocks and forests should contact the Wildcare Helpline on 9474 9055.
Feeding water birds - killing with kindness
Many people like to feed bread and similar foods to ducks, swans and other wild water birds at local lakes and wetlands. This is harmful to the birds' health, survival and habitat.
Water birds are particularly adapted to living and feeding in water. Their beaks and bills, feet and body shapes and sizes are particularly specialised for feeding in specific wetland zones on specific aquatic organisms.
Like humans, birds have trouble digesting particular foods. Eating processed 'human' food like bread can fill the bird's digestive system, but provide little nutrition, eventually leading to malnutrition and sickness. Natural 'wild' foods such as macroinvertebrates (tiny aquatic insects and other mini-beasts), insects, algae, snails and worms provide the correct seasonal nutrition for wild birds.
Wild birds can become dependent on human feeding, and can then become vulnerable to attack. Water bird numbers can also be artificially maintained by feeding, resulting in abnormally high populations. This can lead to aggressive behaviour, can delay seasonal migrations and can interfere with breeding cycles. For example, seasonal springtime changes in macroinvertebrate species directly influence the female Pacific Black Duck to commence its breeding cycle.
Overpopulation can also lead to over grazing, spread of disease, loss of offspring and crowding out of other species' breeding sites.
What the birds don't eat can also cause a problem. Phosphates released from uneaten bread as it decays in the water can cause a build-up of nutrients (eutrophication) in the wetland. This can lead to algal blooms in summer, which can lead to outbreaks of botulism. Overpopulation can rapidly spread the potentially fatal botulism toxin to other birds, resulting in large numbers of water bird deaths.
A one-week botulism outbreak in 1999 in the Mary Carroll Park Wetlands killed more than a thousand water birds, with almost the same number of birds rescued and nursed back to health through a concentrated volunteer and City water bird rescue operation.
Rotting bread can also lead to a reduction in dissolved oxygen in the water, leading to fish kills and other fauna deaths.
Wild birds and other animals are adapted to finding the food types they need. They are best left alone to get on with what they do best.
The dumping of waste or littering in bushland or on road verges is an offence under the Litter Act 1979 with fines up to $1000. The City's Rangers are able to investigate incidents of littering and/or illegal dumping where evidence of an offender is provided. Litter offences can be reported to Ranger Services on 9397 3000.
Clearing of bushland
The Environmental Protection (Clearing of Native Vegetation) Regulations 2004 protect all native vegetation in Western Australia. Clearing native vegetation is prohibited, unless a clearing permit is granted by the Department of Environment Regulation or the clearing is for an exempt purpose such as the maintenance of existing fire access tracks or fence lines.
Clearing may also be allowed for developments whose removal of native vegetation has been assessed in the course of the process of obtaining the relevant planning approvals.
The clearing of native vegetation is defined as development under the Planning and Development Act (2005). Clearing of native vegetation without Development Approval is an offence under the Act.
Instances of native vegetation clearing that are believed to be occurring without the relevant permit or other approval can be reported to the City's Environmental Management team on 9397 3000. Reports can also be forwarded to the Department of Environment Regulation by following the related link below, or on 6467 5020.
To assist in investigating your complaint, the following information should be noted:
- Location, including lot number and road name.
- Date and time that clearing was observed.
- Area of vegetation cleared.
- Type of vegetation cleared.
- A description of the person(s) and/or machinery conducting the clearing.
If you wish, you may remain anonymous when you report a clearing incident.
The Department of Environment Regulation has prime responsibility for dealing with pollution incidents.
If you wish to report an emergency pollution incident, please call the 24 hour Emergency Pollution Watch Hotline on 1300 784 782.
In the event of a hazardous materials release, or life-threatening incident, call 000 and ask for Fire and Rescue Services.
For non-urgent pollution complaints or reports, please contact your nearest Department of Environment Regulation Regional Office by telephone or email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact the City's Health Service section on 9397 3021.