cornerstone legal

Environmental Law and Wetlands

Tim Houweling and Bronwyn Waugh speak about wetlands and their environmental significance in Western Australia

cornerstone legal

Tim Houweling and Bronwyn Waugh speak about wetlands and their environmental significance in Western Australia

Taking careful consideration of the environment and how activity might impact the environment is becoming increasingly important to individuals, businesses, and Government bodies across Perth.

It goes without saying that wetlands have major significance in Western Australia. This is why our team has broken down this topic to help explain the considerations and implications from a legal standpoint.

What is a wetland?

Wetlands are areas of land where water covers the soil or is present either at or near the soil’s surface. This can be existent all year or for varying periods of time during the year. Water saturation largely determines how the soil develops and the types of flora and fauna that exist in and on the soil. The prolonged presence of water creates conditions that favor the growth of adapted plants and promote wetland-specific soil.

When mapping was originally undertaken in the mid 1990s, areas of land were identified as having wetlands based on aerial photography. Today, classifying an area of land as a wetland is done by ground-truthing. This process determines whether or not the area is, in fact, a wetland.

Types of wetlands

Here are the two primary types of wetlands that can be found in Western Australia.

  • Coastal wetlands

These wetlands are closely linked to estuaries where seawater mixes with freshwater to form an environment of varying salinities.

  • Inland wetlands

These types of wetlands are most common on floodplains along rivers and streams, in isolated depressions surrounded by dry land, along the margins of lakes and ponds, and in other low-lying areas where the groundwater intercepts the soil surface.

What does this mean for you?

As environmental lawyers in Perth, we’re often asked to consider the conditions imposed on a subdivision or a refusal of a development application made in proximity to a wetland. We consider the policies and whether these specified conditions need to be imposed, or whether the wetland has the characteristics that the development or the subdivision ought not to proceed in proximity to that wetland.

Therefore, we are identifying whether or not the wetland has been mapped adequately as either a conservation category wetland or a resource enhancement wetland. We’re looking at how we can ensure that the environmental characteristics are not compromised by surrounding development, whether that is a subdivision or construction, in proximity to that wetland.

At Cornerstone Legal, we have a team of environment lawyers in Perth who not only have the knowledge but also the experience to be able to guide you through the steps and the processes required to ensure that we get the best possible outcome for you and your land.

If you have land which has been identified as an area of environmental significance, or if you have a development that has been refused due to environmental constraints. Be sure to watch our video below and to get in touch with our team of environment lawyers in Perth today.