There is a transformation taking place on Crooke Street in East Bairnsdale with a suburban drain about to become an urban wetland and contribute to a healthier Gippsland Lakes.
As the crow flies, Crooke Street is close to Jones Bay – one of the Lakes’ precious aquatic wildlife refuges. The newly constructed wetland will filter stormwater from a residential area before it enters Jones Bay. Aquatic plants within the wetlands will provide natural filtration and reduce nutrients, improving overall water quality.
The project, being delivered by East Gippsland Shire Council, received $260,000 through the current funding round of the Gippsland Lakes Coordinating Committee and The project, being delivered by East Gippsland Shire Council, received $260,000 through the current funding round of the Gippsland Lakes Coordinating Committee and $250,000 from the DELWP (now DEECA) Integrated Water Management Program. It will be delivered in partnership with Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation, East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority, Federation University and the local community. Gippsland Lakes Coordinating Committee members recently visited the site for an update.
The wetland design will meet the unique needs of the landscape and mimic natural processes to improve water quality. As the stormwater moves through, it will be filtered and cleaned via a series of retention ponds. Once complete, it will reduce 100% of gross pollutants and suspended solids and 81% of phosphorous from being discharged into Jones Bay.
“We are really pleased to support this project to reduce pollution entering the Lakes and improve habitat for wildlife,” said Glenys Watts, Chair of the Gippsland Lakes Coordinating Committee.
“Along with the environmental benefits, we are looking forward to the community getting involved in citizen science to monitor the project.”
“This is a great project for the community and environment and will utilise Water Sensitive Urban Design principles to filter stormwater flows,” said Cr Mark Reeves East Gippsland Shire Council Mayor.
“We know that nutrients like phosphorous and nitrogen build up in the Gippsland Lakes and this initiative to reduce them will contribute to improving the overall health of this important environment.”
Jones Bay is part of the Gippsland Lakes Ramsar Site, internationally recognised for its importance in providing habitat for migratory birds – many of which are threatened species.
More than 20 species of migratory birds including snipe, sandpipers and terns visit the Gippsland Lakes as part of their annual breeding and resting cycle. Most travel from northeast Asia and Alaska, a roundtrip of approximately 20,000 km.
Tenders are currently being evaluated for to deliver the project – with a tendered being awarded before the end of the financial year. This program is funded as part of the Victorian Government’s $248 million investment over four years (2020-2024) to improve the health of waterways and catchments across regional Victoria and made possible through $7.5 million to support the Gippsland Lakes Coordinating Committee and deliver on-ground works and community engagement.