Townsville wetlands set national standard

Date published: 24 August 2022

Townsville’s Fairfield Freshwater wetlands is setting a national standard according to a recent report highlighting the performance and benefits of the natural reserve.

The Environmental Management Plan presented to Full Council today highlighted the important role the wetland plays in protecting, conserving, and contributing to our natural environment and Townsville as a Sustainable Destination.

Community Health Safety and Environmental Sustainability chairperson Maurie Soars said the work undertaken to protect the wetland was inspirational.

“Not only have we managed to maintain and integrate a beautiful natural asset for residents and native water birds to enjoy but it truly sets a standard for how to practice holistic conservation,” Cr Soars said.

“Everything from harvesting exotic water weeds from the sediment basins, to how we manage the grassed areas as filters and buffers, to how we reuse removed vegetation to produce topsoil and mulch in surrounding garden beds has been considered.”

The innovative weeds to soils program which was introduced in 2021, reuses waste into a valuable landscaping resource and reduces costs for residents by diverting waste from landfill and providing a reusable material.

Mayor Jenny Hill said Council had worked closely with community groups like Creek Watch to monitor wetlands, including this one, which existed long before the development of Idalia.

“Because it is connected to ground water this wetland still has freshwater and food in the dry season when other wetlands in the city have dried up which means it holds high conservation value for an amazing range of native water birds, including ducks, geese, herons, cormorants, spoonbills, pelicans and even regionally rare Rajah Shelduck, as well as aesthetic value for residents,” she said.

The role of wetlands in dry tropics cities is critical both as an oasis for unique native birds, fish, turtles and aquatic plants, but also as a natural system to support a healthy and resilient environment.

These complex systems help manage water quality by essentially acting as a filter for any stormwater runoff from surrounding properties and are also an important cog in the wheel in groundwater during periods of dry weather.

For more information on the project, visit Council’s Living in Townsville page.