Mapping report shows salinity still significant issue

  • New mapping technology captures full extent of salinity across the agricultural region
  • Mapping data to support natural resource management and agricultural productivity
  • Sustainable land management in Western Australia has been boosted by a ground-breaking initiative that has more accurately calculated the extent of salinity in the agricultural region to support new approaches to conserving natural assets and agricultural productivity.

    The ‘Mapping salt-affected land in the South-West of Western Australia using satellite remote sensing’ report by the national science agency, CSIRO, and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) was released at a forum in Perth today.

    The initiative used satellite imagery, high resolution topographic data, ground information and GIS data sets, supported by ground-truth mapping by DPIRD hydrologists, to confirm 1.75 million hectares of salt-affected land across the region.

    The enhanced mapping methodology captured an additional 0.67 million hectares of previously undetected saline land, most likely moderately affected land suitable for productive use or rehabilitation. The last Land Monitoring project was undertaken prior to 2000.

    The report will assist the Soil and Land Conservation Commissioner to identify and pursue natural resource management priorities, in consultation with industry, community and government agencies.

    The WA Government has several initiatives underway to mitigate salinity, including Community Stewardship Grants to restore saline lands and funding for Carbon Farming and Land Restoration Program projects.

    The ‘Mapping salt-affected land in the South-West of Western Australia using satellite remote sensing’ report can be downloaded at https://www.agric.wa.gov.au/landmonitor-2022

    As stated by Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan:

    “This report is a valuable resource that provides a clearer picture on the extent of salinity across the agricultural region to more effectively address this significant issue – being the first comprehensive monitoring project in 20 years.

    “It shows that the area affected by salinity has been under reported and that we need to continue to intensify replanting to reduce the water table and continue to develop salt-tolerant species.

    “The State Government is now working with the CSIRO on next generation methods to improve mapping accuracy, enabling ongoing assessments to capture previously under-reported salinity.”

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