‘Brave’ restoration of Eric Singleton sanctuary a winner for City of Bayswater

UWA Professor Peter Davies and Mayor Barry McKenna in the Eric Singleton Bird Sanctuary wetland, whose restoration has won three prestigious award. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au   d472609
UWA Professor Peter Davies and Mayor Barry McKenna in the Eric Singleton Bird Sanctuary wetland, whose restoration has won three prestigious award. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d472609

THE City of Bayswater has won its third award in less than a year for their “brave” restoration of the Eric Singleton Bird Sanctuary.

Together with project consultants GHD, the City won the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects WA Land Management Award of Excellence after winning the 2016 Australian Engineering Excellence Award in September and the 2016 Premier’s Award for Excellence in November.

Prior to its revitalisation, the Eric Singleton Reserve was a degraded man-made wetland laden with nutrient rich acid sulphate soil which caused algae blooms that flowed into the Swan River and contributed to a decline in water quality and marine life.

The City and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (formally the Swan River Trust) lined the base of the wetland with limestone which served to both neutralise acidity and create a hard surface that allowed for denitrification (a chemical process by which nitrogen is removed) to occur.

Mayor Barry McKenna said the success of the revitalisation demonstrated what could be achieved with good policy, designs and landscape.

“This ambitious project has resulted in the restoration of the health of the bird sanctuary, increased wildlife diversity and improved the water quality of the Swan and Canning River system,” he said.

“It has created a beautiful area of open space for people to enjoy.

“The wetland now prevents an estimated 1.3 tonnes of nitrogen, 200kg of phosphorus and 40 tonnes of sediment and rubbish from flowing into the river each year.”

University of Western Australia Pro Vice-Chancellor Peter Davies said the Council was brave transferring good science to on-ground works.

“They have got a great wetland that they have produced and I’d like to see it happen more widely across the Swan Coastal Plain, especially to try and maintain the health of the river,” he said.

“As a kid, I grew up on the Swan River and there has been significant improvement over the last 40 years.

“We have still got a long way to go…we still have a lot of drains which we have seen leaking nutrients into the river.”