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New National Park to Protect Australia's Horizontal Falls

Jan 29, 2013 06:46 AM EST
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Australia's world-famous Horizontal Falls will be protected through a national and a marine park, the Western Australia state government announced Monday.

The waterfall is located at Talbot Bay in Western Australia's (WA) Kimberley region. According to WA Premier Colin Barnett, a national park covering an area of 61 square miles (160 square kilometers) and a 1,160-square-mile marine park will be established in a bid to give protection to the natural site.

"The extraordinary Horizontal Falls are an internationally renowned tourist attraction and it is imperative we maintain the pristine environment that surrounds them," Barnett said in a statement.

Both the parks will be Class A reserves, meaning that the state government would provide the highest possible protection to them.

"Protecting the Kimberley coast and its marine and bird life provides a balance to the rapid spread of mining and other industrial development," John Carey, the Pew Environment Group's Kimberley Conservation Project director, told the Australian Associated Press.

The new Horizontal Falls marine park will expand the Great Kimberley marine park to 10,000 square miles (26,000 square km). It will protect the coral reefs, dolphins and mangrove forests.

The new marine park will be a multiple use park, providing opportunities for recreational fishing and tourism. Currently existing pearling leases will remain and the new marine park will ensure high quality water for pearling, according to the government statement.

The parks will be managed by the traditional owners - the Dambimangari people - and will provide increased employment opportunities, including on-country park ranger programs, Barnett said.

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