Lucy Curno Revive

#SeaToSource helps to keep the Swan River a destination for community activities



Swan River may be deceiving by name, but it’s true to its nature when it comes to providing a clean waterway for residents of Perth to enjoy. 

Swan River is in fact technically an estuary, and although named after the iconic and widespread Black Swan, in reality it also offers a diverse range of habitats with an equally diverse range of plants and animals.

It’s part of one of the largest river systems within the southwest of Western Australia, and at an impressive 72km in length, it forms at the footsteps of the Darling Ranger and flows through the metropolitan area of Perth where it then joins with the Canning River, flowing down to Fremantle meeting the Indian Ocean – acting as a drain for the whole of the Swan Coastal Plain. This expansive waterway is the focus of #SeaToSource, Conservation Volunteers Australia’s (CVA) latest project in the region.

As part of #SeaToSource, CVA is showcasing eight rivers and urban waterways around Australia and sharing stories about their importance to the local environment and threats the rivers are facing from plastic litter. #SeaToSource aims to involve communities around Australia to tackle litter at its source, before it reaches our waterways, and ultimately to protect the Great Southern Reef which stretches from Western Australia to Queensland and includes the full New South Wales coast. 

This month’s focus is the Swan River, and for great reason. As a great attraction for people within Perth’s surrounding suburbs with its stunning skyline at night, pedestrian and cycle pathways all the way around the river, countless recreational fishing areas, and space for water sport activities, CVA aims to educate and inspire communities on how they can protect their much-loved local river.  

Like many other organisations this year, CVA has moved to use online platforms to enable people to take action for nature, to complement the hands-on volunteering they’re known for in the region. The CVA Campfire, their new digital community platform, allows people to share their personal experiences and stories with the Swan River, and encourages locals to initiate their own clean-up using an app called ‘Litter Stopper’. Each individual story and litter survey can be shared on The Campfire as a virtual community river clean up, alongside the monthly clean ups held at the Swan River. 

CVA Project Officer, Yasmina Tulloch-Medigovich, has been on the ground doing her part to clean the river throughout COVID-19, and says she can’t wait for more of the community to get involved. 

“Having lived in Western Australia my whole life, I have a deep seeded love for the ocean, and I see the effect of plastic pollution accumulating in our rivers, choking our waterways, depriving our aquatic plant species of light and oxygen, and killing our wildlife who mistake it for food or get entangled.

That being said, we can do something about it! I’m excited to be working in the space of educating each person that comes along to one of our beach clean ups about the importance of what they’re doing. I think education is key. The plastic pollution found in our river most often is a result of litter being dropped on our streets, in our local bushlands and wetlands, and overflow from residential and commercial bins, all flowing into our stormwater drains, leading to the pollution of our rivers and oceans. We want everyone who’s frustrated by this to join us!

Our #SeaToSource program has been developed not only to physically remove plastic pollution through community clean-ups, but to also educate ourselves and become aware and target the sources of plastic pollution. Through our #SeaToSource initiative, you can become part of a national movement of people working together to make a real difference in their local environments. It will give you a platform to connect with like-minded individuals within your community, share your stories and experiences whilst, all the while, fighting the crucial battle against plastic pollution in our Swan River and oceans.”

CVA is inviting everyone who cares about tackling plastic litter to get on board and share their stories about their time spent on the Swan River. For anyone keen to take part in monthly river clean ups, you can find out more at: 

#SeaToSource is supported by the Australian Government under the Environment Restoration Fund.


Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) is a national organisation working with communities to rebalance nature for a stronger, more resilient future. We combine evidence-based practices and people power to make real and lasting change at scale. Founded in 1982, CVA is a leader in delivering practical initiatives, community involvement and training programs with volunteer opportunities offered all year round, to encourage anyone across Australia to take action for nature. Through our work, we’re building a more harmonious and helpful relationship between people and nature and we’ve been recognised with many significant awards, including the United Nations’ Environment Program Global 500, 6 Banksia Environmental Foundation Awards, Coastal Award for Excellence, UNWTO Ulysses Award for Innovation in Non-Governmental Organizations & Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Community Business Partnerships. 

For more information, visit 

#SeaToSource is a project supported by the Australian Government under the Environment Restoration Fund. Find out more at  

#SeaToSource is part of Conservation Volunteers Australia’s Revive campaign, which engages communities to care deeply for their local aquatic habitats. 

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