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Enhancing Connectivity and Habitat of Urban Stormwater Reserves

Enhancing the connectivity and habitat quality of vegetation in urban stormwater reserves

The drainage reserves in Bathurst represent critical infrastructure in terms of stormwater management and flood mitigation. But importantly these areas also provide valuable biodiversity and recreational functions within the urban landscape. In 2012 Bathurst Regional Council implemented a program to enhance the connectivity and habitat value of its urban stormwater reserves through extensive planting of native vegetation in order to provide habitat linkages between the Macquarie River and its urban tributaries. The Bathurst Urban Drainage Reserve Vegetation Link project was assisted by the NSW Government through its Environmental Trust and was designed to “inspire an understanding of and commitment to sustainability through innovative on-ground works and community engagement”.

Revegetation site within an urban drainage reserve, Bathurst

Revegetation site within an urban drainage reserve, Bathurst

The Vegetation Link project identified 11 key urban drainage reserves that act as seasonal watercourses, but had lost most of their habitat and ecological values due to urban development. Revegetation of these sites was designed to improve connectivity throughout the landscape for native animals, improved filtering of urban stormwater by aquatic and riparian zone plants, as well as reduced erosion. Importantly, the design also aimed to improve the aesthetics and amenity of these areas. Initial works focused on five of the identified drainage reserves with over 24,000 native plantings completed. The current works funded by the Environment & Waterways Alliance will rectify some of the issues encountered with the original project as well as to improve community perception of these reserves as a valuable environmental asset, rather than as a dumping ground for green waste and household rubbish, as has previously been encountered.

Weed control, mulching and infill planting works have now been completed

Weed control, mulching and infill planting works have now been completed

The “Enhancing the connectivity and habitat quality of vegetation in urban stormwater reserves” project has benefited the existing vegetation through weed control, infill planting and additional mulching of these sites. A contractor has been engaged to complete maintenance works over several months that will include watering, weed control and further plantings as required. Additionally, signage will be updated to provide new information with links to current projects and other relevant information. Ongoing maintenance will be completed by Councils recreation section.

Infill planting has been completed to improve the habitat values of the previous plantings

Infill planting has been completed to improve the habitat values of the previous plantings

Central West Councils Environment & Waterways Alliance has proudly funded this project to the value of $11,300. It is considered that this investment will greatly improve the ecological values of the urban drainage reserve system throughout Bathurst. Community planting days are held across various sites throughout Bathurst on a regular basis. If you would like to assist in improving the local environment and learn about native plants and animals of the region, please contact Bathurst Regional Councils recreation section on 6333 6100.