The Peel-Harvey estuary and its catchment have been the subject of intensive investigation and management since the late 1970s, because of concern about worsening algal blooms and their associated impacts. After diagnosis of the problem, possible management options were assessed in the light of the available technical information, and a management strategy developed and implemented.

Various Integrated Catchment Management (ICM) approaches have been used, including voluntary reduction of fertilizer use, and the construction of a new channel to the ocean to achieve an appropriate socio-environmental solution. Innovative approaches were also taken in developing statutory and non-statutory management targets and land-use controls and guidelines. To date these measures appear to have been successful, although some of them are vulnerable in the long term.

This is currently the best Australian example of an ICM approach to the management of a complex environmental problem which has actually been implemented. It is also a good example on a world scale of addressing an environmental problem using a systems approach with an appropriate socio-environmental solution.

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