Saturday, March 27, 2010


The dreadful storm we had on Monday is still affecting life - human and other.

One of Perth's greatest assets is the river system it is situated on. The Swan - named for the black swans that fascinated early explorers - divides the city with the CBD located on the foreshore. Its tributary, the Canning which joins it a short distance downstream and together they form a glorious - and well used - sweep of water.

When I worked in the city my office overlooked the river and a very pleasant distraction it was when tedious report writing had stalled. Even during the week there are catamarans, yachts, paragliders and sailboard riders as well as the occasional motorboat or kayak and on the weekend the yachts multiply into graceful fleets. Small ferries chug their way from the CBD across river for those who prefer not to brave the bridges, larger ones and cruise vessels head to and from the port city of Fremantle. The river water is estuarine and salty at this point and dolphins fish up and downstream. Driving to work it was common to see rowers gliding out on the mirror like surface.

Sadly the river is now suffering. The storm was so ferocious that it dumped massive amounts of debris into the streams. The mix of soil, sewage and rotting vegetation has caused severe depletion of oxygen and fish and other aquatic life are dying while the crustaceans are abandoning the polluted water and trying to find somewhere else.

In an effort to retain breeding stock the authorities are collecting survivors and transferring them to clean ponds. You can see more about the rescue effort here. Let's hope it's successful.

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