The EPA has established an environmental quality management framework for Cockburn Sound, which has been given effect through the State Environmental (Cockburn Sound) Policy 2015 (Government of Western Australia, 2015). The framework is underpinned by established environmental values and clearly expressed and spatially defined environmental quality objectives to guide decision-making and provide the common goals for management. The objectives have been developed in consultation with the community and are intended to reflect the values held by the community for the marine environment of Cockburn Sound.
Implementation of the management framework is through the Environmental Management Plan (EMP) developed by the Cockburn Sound Management Council and requires a cooperative approach that involves all stakeholders. Environmental quality criteria (EQC) play an important role in the management framework by providing the quantitative benchmarks for measuring success in achieving the environmental quality objectives. The goal of environmental management would therefore be to ensure that direct and indirect sources of contaminants are managed such that the EQC are met and the environmental quality objectives achieved. If the EQC are exceeded, then the regulator, manager and discharger must cooperatively develop and implement management strategies, with timelines, and interim objectives if necessary, to restore environmental quality to the levels defined by the EQC.
All the EQC that support the SEP and the EMP, and the decision schemes which explain how they should be applied, are included in this reference document. They are based on known current and historical contaminant inputs and are relevant to the potential issues/pressures in the Sound (GHD, in draft). The decision schemes are also included in the SEP. If other contaminants are considered to pose a potential threat to the environmental values of the Sound in the future then guidance should be sought from the Australian and New Zealand Guidelines for Fresh and Marine Water Quality (ANZECC & ARMCANZ, 2000), the Western Australian Shellfish Quality Assurance Program (DoH, 2011) and the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code to establish additional EQC.