“Floating wetlands” set to transform the Yarra River in Docklands

Floating Wetlands Docklands
Brendan Rees

A series of “floating wetlands” are being launched in Docklands under a trial project to support a healthy ecosystem on the Yarra River.

Five large wetlands will be towed into the river in the coming weeks, consisting of hundreds of young, native Indigenous plants in what the City of Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp said was a “another step forward for the Greenline Project and a beautiful way to return native plants and animals to the heart of our city”.

The wetlands will occupy Yarra’s Edge near Webb Bridge, the Turning Basin at Enterprize Park, and Victoria Harbour Promenade after the state government provided a $700,000 grant to the council.

The trial, which will be rolled out from December, will see the wetlands made with a series of interlocking platforms, which will be placed on the water and anchored to the riverbed.

According to the City of Melbourne, the wetlands have been designed to encourage plant growth and support the return of native wildlife, with perching posts, drying banisters, basking areas, sunken planting and small ramps.

Cr Capp said the project would add to the “calming, natural environment of the Yarra River – Birrarung” and give visitors and residents “more reason to choose this precinct as a spot to unwind with co-workers, friends and family.”

“Hundreds of lush green plants will soon float on the river, allowing us to study the role of native wetlands while also helping to revitalise our most important waterway,” she said.




The young plants will be protected from damage and monitored during their establishment phase by the council.

The locations were chosen after the lower stretch of the Yarra River was once home to a rich ecosystem of riparian vegetation and seasonal wetlands, according to the council, making it an important place for the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung and the people of the broader Eastern Kulin nation.


Environment portfolio lead Cr Rohan Leppert said the wetlands were a “significant step forward” in helping to improve the river’s health and support the return of native birds and local wildlife.”


“A healthy river system is vital for a growing city like Melbourne, and we need to encourage projects like this which protect and support our native ecosystems and biodiversity,” he said.

In addition to key insights about the role native wetlands play in supporting a healthy ecosystem, the council said the trial would provide opportunities to learn about their cultural importance and be used to inform future projects to improve urban waterways.


Caption: Lord Mayor Sally Capp and Cr Rohan Leppert celebrate the launch of the first floating wetlands by planting new native plants. Photos: Ajay Viswanath.

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