Before construction starts to improve flood protection in Busselton, we must first put in place ways to protect local wildlife including the iconic Western Ringtail Possum. Find out how we’re working with local organisations to minimise our impact on native flora and fauna.

We’ve recently started work on upgrading the Vasse Diversion Drain to improve flood protection for Busselton. A gem of the south-west, Busselton is not only a tourist favourite, it’s also a biodiversity hotspot.

In planning this essential project, we’ve taken special care to protect native flora and fauna from the impacts of our construction works.

Read on to find out how we’re working with local wildlife organisations to look after some of the area’s most vulnerable creatures.

Safe crossings for the Western Ringtail Possum

Busselton is home to the highest number of Western Ringtail Possums in the state, due to the abundance of Peppermint and Eucalypt trees. The possums are natural climbers, spending most of their time in the tree canopy, foraging for food. Unfortunately, possum numbers are in decline due to ongoing land clearing, the impacts of urban development and the threat of foxes.

To provide our furry friends with a safe passage from tree to tree while construction on the drain is underway, we’ve built 35 fauna shelters connected via 15 rope bridges. The shelters and bridges have been used in other parts of the south-west with great success, allowing the possums to safely cross over major roads without injury.

Rehoming the Carter’s Freshwater Mussel

The Carter’s Freshwater Mussel is WA’s only freshwater mussel species. Described as “the lungs of WA's waterways”, this vulnerable species plays a vital role in the freshwater ecosystem. They act as a natural water filter and clean our waterways by feeding on tiny particles such as algae and plankton.

With the help of OzFish volunteers, we successfully relocated over 35,000 mussels. They were moved upstream in the Vasse River, giving them a safe place away from construction. Once construction has finished, the drain will be naturally repopulated when the mussels spawn and move downstream.

These are a few examples of how we are caring for our environment during the delivery of our water infrastructure projects.

Read more about the Vasse Diversion Drain Upgrade project.