Bushland Beach Channel Naturalisation

Investment $2.8 million
Goal 4.4 World class liveability through excellent open spaces which promote, protect, and encourage utilisation of our natural environment and heritage.
To transform the Bushland Beach channel into a living waterway that enhances the aesthetic of the area and benefits both the community and the natural environment.
Status Underway

Project Overview

Council is undertaking works to transform the Bushland Beach channel into a living waterway that benefits both the community and the natural environment, following residents’ concerns over the existing open drain adjacent to Peggy Banfield Park.

At beginning of the design process, residents were consulted on the project and outcomes. The design provides for a natural self-regulating ecosystem within the channel through the installation of ponds and a meandering rocky creek bed, integration with existing stormwater pipe inlets and provision for access to maintenance and clean-out.

The project is intended to improve the quality of the water in the Bohle River where it flows to the Great Barrier Reef lagoon of Halifax Bay.

The treed environment of this reshaped drain will demonstrate a new city-wide benchmark on how to reduce the amount of long-term maintenance required to our waterways and provide numerous environmental benefits for wildlife and people, including:

  • improved biodiversity with native vegetation that shades out unwanted plants and weeds over time
  • natural mosquito control through the provision of a habitat for mosquito predators
  • soil amelioration, which will reduce erosion, aid water penetration, promote plant growth and improved soil quality to support native vegetation and trees which will in turn stabilise the banks
  • increased cross-sectional capacity of the channel, which will slow flood waters and slightly decrease water levels
  • enhanced aesthetic for people and passive recreation - a channel that is reimagined as a living waterway rather than an urban drain
  • improved water quality through natural filtering systems and the inclusion of accessible ponds designed for easy maintenance.

Waterway Design

The naturalised waterway has been designed and built to filter sediment, nutrients and pollutants from the water flowing from upstream streets, houses, parks and lawns, which will improve the health of water entering the Bohle River, our valuable downstream coastal environments, and the Great Barrier Reef.

Careful thought has gone into designing the project to allow for high rainfall and reduce flooding events including consideration for the surrounding stormwater features; backed up with rigorous modelling and calculations.

This living, breathing waterway is not a manicured garden bed, but a dynamic system that will change in appearance over 2 to 10 years. 97,000 plants of 75 different local native species have been sourced, grown and planted utilising local businesses and contractors, including First Nations businesses and crews. The carefully selected local native trees, shrubs, grasses, and sedges will continue to grow, spread, drop leaves, and shade-out weeds overtime.

Townsville is home to poorly structured and erosive sodic soils. Council has restored and created healthy soils on this site by using biologically living mulch and dense vegetation establishment. As the plants self-establish over time, some of these species will help stabilise and build healthy soils.

This is project has a broader significance to the entire city of Townsville – and was chosen to demonstrate and innovate solutions which can be replicated into the future for other urban drain corridors, across the city.

Stage 1 (Design) of the project leveraged funding received from the Queensland Government as part of the Cleaner Wastewater Initiative project under the Queensland Reef Water Quality Program.

Project Schedule

Works commence: Wednesday 24 May 2023
Project completion: Mid 2024*

* The project completion date has been extended due to wet weather and unforeseen weather events.

The works involve:

  • removal of two pedestrian bridges with pedestrian detour in place.
  • closure of the section of footpath adjacent to the open drain for the duration of the works
  • site office and laydown area located in the unused AFL field
  • heavy machinery and associated noise and dust to surrounding areas.

Bushland Beach Channel Naturalisation map

View full sized Bushland Beach Channel Naturalisation map

Project Status Update - March 2024


  • 80% of earthworks were completed before Christmas 2023.
  • Wet weather in January and February has required a pause in works. As the site is an active stormwater drain, the remaining portion of earthworks will be complete after the wet weather has subsided and access to site is possible.


  • 60% of planting has been completed with another 20% on hold until minor damage sustained from TC Kirrily is rectified and earthworks recommence.
  • 80% of planting and 9 out of a total of 12 ponds are expected to be complete by mid-April 2024.
  • The final 20% will take place once the outstanding section of earthworks are completed.

Project Factsheet

Thumbnail of Bushland Beach Channel Naturalisation Factsheet

Frequently Asked Questions

Queensland Government logoStage 1 (Design) of this project was proudly funded by the Queensland Government’s Queensland Reef Water Quality Program in association with Townsville City Council.