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INNER CITY ENVIRONMENTAL REVITALISATION - FEDERAL PARK TIDALLY INFLUENCED SALT-MARSH WETLAND
Federal Park Tidally-Influenced Salt Marsh Wetland (constructed 2001)
A four year consultation, planning, design and construction process, has delivered a salt marsh wetland just three kilometres from the Sydney G.P.O. Funding from an Environmental Trust (Restoration & Rehabilitation) Grant, a Storm water Trust Grant and Leichhardt Council itself has enabled conversion of a traditional storm water conveyance - i.e. an underground concrete channel beneath a grassed park surface - into an open water body, tidal mud flats, salt-marsh planting and associated fringing terrestrial vegetation.
The project enables visitors to a popular inner city open space to view an initiative that seeks to reestablish an environment akin to the pre-development foreshore. Considerable environmental education potential exists at the site. To achieve an on-the-ground outcome required strong commitment from stakeholders and at several preconstruction stages of the project delivery a less committed community or Council might have taken the easier "do nothing" option. Post-construction public opinion of the salt-marsh is favourable - justifying the major investment of community and Council staff time and effort.
The aims of the project were as follows:
- To contribute to better water quality in Rozelle Bay and work towards the ecological restoration of Sydney Harbour
- To reestablish indigenous wetland species
- To create nesting and feeding sites for water birds and shelter and breeding grounds for fish, and other aquatic life
- To create an aesthetically pleasing peaceful recreation area, and
- To involve local residents and schools through educational programs that encourage responsible water conservation practices by demonstrating the connection between personal behaviour and water quality.
A tidally-affected wetland was constructed by excavating a flat, grassed park surface adjacent to Johnstons Creek in Annandale. The project delivered an practical outcome after extensive community consultation had established community support for the project and after an ESD assessment, a feasibility study, soil sampling for contamination and detailed design planning had been undertaken.
Text provided by David Eckstein, Snr Environment Officer, Leichhardt Council, 7-15 Wetherill St, Leichhardt, NSW. Email: DavidE @ lmc . nsw .gov. au (2001). Photos - Ramin Communications.
- On the ground - The ability to maintain project momentum and overcome several cost, planning and amenity hurdles over a four year period and then construct and deliver a new habitat and emerging ecosystem in such an inner city location is a considerable achievement.
- Post-construction Public opinion is favourable. Native Nursery Volunteers working on the site are regularly asked questions about the project and anecdotally report that the majority of passer-by park users commend the project. Council intends to formally establish public opinion by survey during the later part of 1999.
- Fauna - Despite only recently being completed, various Australian bird species are already using the inundated part of the wetland including White Faced Heron and native duck, Magpie lark, and Wagtails have been observed amongst the fringing vegetation and Dragonflies frequent the wetland area. Barnacle species (Balina amphitrite or B. variegatus) are confirmed as colonising the rocks at the outlet structure.
- The Centre for Ecological Impacts of Coastal Cities is monitoring the extent to which marine invertebrates colonise the wetland, and in particular how successfully planktonic life utilises the newly created environment. The CEICC advise that the growing medium in which the salt-marsh species were planted appears to be healthy - it is too early for the CEICC to confirm that the suite planktonic life that would be expected in a natural salt-marsh is developing at Federal Park.
- Flora - Regenerating salt marsh environments, let alone reestablishing from scratch is a relatively new endeavour. Plant survival rates at Federal Park have exceeded the expectations of those closely involved in the project.
- All the viro-cell plantings are doing well Several plants are already flowering (within three months of being planted) - indicating good health.
- Floristic diversity is clearly already enhanced - a mown grass area has been replaced with a botanically diverse range of plants, several of which would have been common locally before urban development but which are now rarely if ever found in the Municipality.
- In the community - Community volunteers play a key role in managing the wetland. Rozelle Bay Community Native Nursery members are assessing which salt marsh and terrestrial fringing vegetation is growing most rapidly in zones and are undertaking fine-detail adjustment planting enhancement. Lay-interest (i.e. persons not involved in on-the-ground work on the project) remains high and Council is already receiving queries from school and tertiary students wishing to undertake projects concerning the wetland.
- At Council - The project has served as a driver for establishing joint initiatives and work-efforts between the two divisions of Council most involved in environmental management activity, namely Works and Services Operations) and Environmental Management Divisions.
If you are in North America, these books may be of more interest to you: North American Wetlands
This page www.ramin.com.au/annandale/wetlands.shtml last updated 25 May 2009