A safe berth for Pacific blacks

Rhonda Dredge

The whole point of creating floating wetlands is to attract birdlife and nature lovers to a busy part of the river.

Docklands News can confirm that a number of species are already using the new wetlands at Yarra’s Edge.

When the wetlands were installed six weeks ago by the City of Melbourne as part of a $40 million river upgrade locals were sceptical.

“This area stinks when there’s no rain. I thought they were purifying the water,” one said.

But once the birds began to appear a spirit of discovery began emerging down by the footbridge.

“When I take people out, I show them the wetlands,” said Charlotte Sterrett, the Yarra Riverkeeper, whose boat The Puggle is moored nearby.

“They’re in perfect spots out of the way where the water is quite still, places where birds will congregate.”

She said they were “like a hook to get people talking about the bigger issues”.

The Yarra Riverkeeper has been out in her boat around a dozen times during that period and has been keeping her own anecdotal record.

“I’ve seen cormorants sitting on the litter trap. It’s pretty sad. Now they get to sit in a nice natural place,” she said.

She’s seen swans, egrets and ducks and eventually hopes to see turtles as well.

“I haven’t seen any turtles or platypuses yet. It’s too saline and polluted.”

It was these small sightings that connected people with the riverine systems, she said, and the Yarra wetland concept is an Australian first, the idea coming from the UK.

“I hope to see more and more species. They’ll be making water life come back. We need facts sheets, so people know what they’re looking at.”

The wetlands have three levels, coir matting substrate, a sunken level, and planter boxes and trees and should become self-sustaining.

She said they were fenced off to prevent the young plants from being dug up by ducks.

The Pacific black duck that is nesting is likely to have entered from the water onto a landing platform before making its way to a safe berth. •


Captions: A floating wetland at Yarra’s Edge, and a Pacific black takes up residence.

Join Our Facebook Group