Yakamia Creek to be rehabilitated to protect snake-necked turtles and Indigenous culture

Headshot of Kasey Gratton
Kasey GrattonAlbany Advertiser
Justin Bellanger at Yakamia Creek.
Camera IconJustin Bellanger at Yakamia Creek. Credit: Kasey Gratton

Yakamia Creek will be redeveloped to protect resident turtles and preserve the culturally significant site.

The Yakamia Creek project was officially launched on Thursday as a partnership between the State Government, South Coast Natural Resource Management, the City of Albany, Minderoo Foundation, the South Coast Environment Fund, and Healthy Estuaries WA.

The creek runs through Albany to Oyster Harbour and has become degraded and overgrown with weeds.

The project aims to improve water quality, remove invasive species and install interpretive signage along the creek’s edge.

The State Government has contributed $144,000 to rehabilitate several hundred metres of the creek, located behind the City administration building.

North Road runs over part of Yakamia Creek.
Camera IconNorth Road runs over part of Yakamia Creek. Credit: Kasey Gratton

This will add to works already completed through a $1.24 million project on parts of the creek in 2019.

South Coast NRM chief executive Justin Bellanger said the new project would flow-on from those works.

“We have a massive job in front of us here, it’s a really big challenge which we love,” Mr Bellanger said.

“We have a lot of work around removing the weeds.

“We’ll do some engineering work, some earthworks to reshape the creek here back to a natural style.

“And then we’ll come in with a lot of revegetation, native trees, local prominent species, to get rid of the multitude of weeds that we can see around us at the moment.”

Yakamia Creek is home to freshwater crayfish, pygmy perch, and the South Western snake-necked turtle.

Part of the restoration will include creating wetland areas and basins as part of the creek, giving the turtles new habitats to live in.

The snake-necked turtle — known as the Yaka or Yakin in the Menang Noongar language — is the namesake of Yakamia, which means home of the turtle.

The creek is significant for the Menang Noongar people.

Mr Bellanger said he hoped the works would change local perspectives on Yakamia Creek.

“One of the big kind of misnomers that people have about Yakamia Creek is that it’s just a drain,” he said.

“And a lot of what we’re doing is reverting what was a drain back into a natural system.

“So what we really want people to do is look at it as a key part of the landscape, and a natural part of the landscape again, as opposed to just something that’s constructed to get water away from where they don’t want it.”

The works on the creek are expected to last 18 months.

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