The Australian Government, Department of Environment and Energy, has been publishing Wetlands Australia since 1995 to bring together information and resources from across Australia relating to wetlands conservation, management and education. To coincide with World Wetlands Day 2018, the 2018 edition highlights Wetlands for a sustainable urban future.
Our project, Restoring the Fotheringham Reserve Billabong, with the City of Greater Dandenong, features in this edition (see page 6).
An urban refuge
Integrated ecological, hydrological and hydraulic assessments for improved bushland management plans.
First published in Waterlines Issue 3 2017
Bushland reserves in urban areas can act as refuges for native flora and fauna. These are often actively managed by Councils to protect and promote biodiversity. Councils must control many threats to such areas including weeds and feral animals to protect native ecosystems. In growth corridors, many of these reserves are inherited by Councils as offset reserves, gifted to local government to compensate for vegetation loss due to permitted development. The health of these indigenous ecosystems is declining due to fragmentation and water stress – specifically because land use change and the construction of drainage infrastructure alters the natural hydrological characteristics of a reserve.
Water Technology is using hydrologic and hydraulic modelling to assist in the management of native ecosystems. As an example, we are using TUFLOW – software generally used for larger scale drainage and waterway assessments – to identify flowpaths through a bushland reserve in Dandenong to inform future planting programs. As part of a Melbourne Water funded Living Rivers project, we are also investigating the hydrologic regime of a billabong in an urban reserve using monitoring and modelling to assess its ability to support riparian vegetation. This work required the modelling (and calibration) of major rainfall events in December 2016 which caused significant damage across Greater Melbourne. This work will inform future bushland management plans for a local council.
Our in-house ecological skills were utilised to monitor vegetation changes over time within the billabong, and to recommend enhancement plantings, with indigenous species, suitable to the billabong profile and the modelled hydrology.
If you want to find out more about how to bring ecology into your integrated water management project, please contact Bertrand Salmi to discuss.
Australian Society for Limnology Conference 2017 – Restoring hydraulic connectivity of a small billabong in an urban context – Bertrand Salmi (Water Technology) and Matthew McClymont (City of Greater Dandenong)
Institute of Public Works and Engineering Australasia – Improving sustainable management practices of urban bushland reserves by understanding the water cycle – Maree Keenan (City of Greater Dandenong), Bertrand Salmi (Water Technology) and A Moodie (City of Greater Dandenong)