NRM Dashboard

Identifying big resource issues in the Avon River Basin is important as they are fundamental to the underlying structure and function of the region. The ‘NRM Dashboard’ aims to define these controlling variables, identify their current state, and help develop natural resource management priorities for the region. Secondary indicators and further information on each big resource issue are shown on subsequent pages that can be accessed by clicking on the relevant dashboard element.

Identifying Thresholds of Potential Concern (TPC)

The Avon River Basin's top seven resource issues were identified using a resilience assessment based on their capacity to impact upon values, derived benefits, goods and services, and a sense-of-place.

Development of these big issues is usually controlled by a fast or slow moving ‘controlling variable’, or ‘system indicator’. The 'threshold' of each controlling variable indicates a major tipping point where the resource issue fundamentally changes state.

The 'NRM Dashboard' identifies the ARB system's big drivers and aims to determine whether they are moving towards or away from the threshold. It also seeks to establish appropriate points of intervention.

It should be noted that individual resource issues do not function in isolation, but as part of a complex interlinked system.

NRM Dashboard

The potential climate change impact of reduced rainfall and hotter temperatures will mean less water available in the soil profile and reduced run-off into the Avon River, leading to a drier catchment.

Data source: Department of Water, WA

The threshold assumes an average bulk density of 1.5 for soil in the 0-30cm layer, then 1% carbon equates to 45t/ha.

Data Source: http://www.soilquality.org.au/au/ wa/wa-central/examine/region/carbon-stock-0-30

Percentage of topsoil less than pH 5.5

Soil acidity is widespread in WA agricultural soils, where the net removal of agricultural products and use of nitrogen based fertilisers has contributed to soil acidification. Acid surface and subsurface soils can significantly reduce plant growth and leave soils vulnerable to degradation.

Data source: Department of Agriculture and Food, WA

Widespread land clearing and agricultural production based on shallow-rooted crops has resulted in rising groundwater and the salinisation of soils and water systems.

Data Source: Landgate, WA

The condition of remnant vegetation is an important aspect of its contribution to ecosystem health. The size of remnant vegetation patches is a key indicator of the condition and resilience of an area of vegetation and contributes to its ability to support biodiversity. That is, as patch size increases, the habitat continuity and diversity, ability to resist invasive species and ability to maintain ecologically important fire regimes is increased.

Data source: Department of Parks and Wildlife

Land clearing, primarily for agriculture, has arguably had the greatest impact on species viability in the Wheatbelt region. Greater than 70% of the native vegetation of the Wheatbelt NRM region has been cleared since European settlement and an average of over 2700 hectares have been approved for clearing per year since 2010.

Data Source: Department of Environmental Regulation


Farmers with a >3:1 debt to income ratio

Agriculture is the largest land user and the region’s social, economic and cultural systems have grown around this. Farm financial viability is therefore integral to the region’s community health.

Data source: Planfarm Bankwest Benchmarks


Population predictions for the ARB display an uneven spatial pattern. The population of the Avon Arc is forecast to increase by approximately 20,000 people, from its current population of 23,400, over the next two decades. In contrast, populations are predicted to decline over the remainder of the ARB’s agricultural areas (Western Australian Planning Commission).

Data source: Australian Bureau of Statistics.


Acidity carried by rising groundwater is increasingly affecting inland waterways in the Wheatbelt. This is particularly problematic in the central and eastern Wheatbelt and is often exacerbated by the construction of drains that expose groundwater.

Data source: Department of Agriculture and Food, WA


Catchment average nitrogen load 2001 - 2010

(Milligrams per litre)

The development of agriculture and population centres in the Wheatbelt has greatly increased the amount of nitrogen (N) entering the regions waterways, leading to macroalgal and potentially toxic microalgal blooms in tributaries and river pools.

Data source: Department of Water, WA  


Catchment average Phosphorus load 2001 - 2010

(Milligrams per litre)

The development of agriculture and population centres in the Wheatbelt has greatly increased the amount of phosphorus (P) entering the regions waterways, leading to macroalgal and potentially toxic microalgal blooms in tributaries and river pools.

Data source: Department of Water, WA  


Stream health and stability rating

Sedimentation is a major issue for the Avon River, with land clearing and the river training scheme contributing increased volumes of sediment into the river, leading to many permanent pools becoming filled with sediment.

Data source: Department of Water, WA

Stay Connected

Subscribe to our updates

Keep up to date on current events, funding opportunities and NRM in the Wheatbelt.

Left Column
Right Column