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City of Geelong looks to expand wetlands access
Having last year acquired the 500-hectare Sparrovale wetlands, the City of Greater Geelong is looking to expand public access to the area under an innovative project.
The future Sparrovale Nature Reserve, the largest nature reserve managed by the City, will combine environmental and community benefits with an important drainage solution for Armstrong Creek’s growing residential population.
Diverse natural and constructed wetlands will occupy about 200 hectares of the property, which adjoins the Barwon River and the internationally significant wetlands of Lake Connewarre and Hospital Swamps.
The Sparrovale wetlands will be managed to protect biodiversity, which has been highlighted as the theme of this year’s international World Wetlands Day tomorrow (Sunday 2nd February).
They will be home to a large number of migratory shorebirds and waterbirds, including sharp-tailed sandpipers, whiskered terns, a variety of ducks, herons, stilts and brolga.
The $4.02 million project includes the creation and landscaping of linear wetlands, earthen channels, access roads and drainage structures.
While construction of the stormwater system is underway, the site is not open to the public. However, once works are complete, visitors will be welcome to enjoy the natural environment and open space of the area.
Residents will be able to help shape the design of the new public parkland through the development of the forthcoming Sparrovale Master Plan.
The sustainable wetland reserve project provides another chapter in the fascinating history of the Sparrovale site, which is part of the Barwon River floodplain.
The wetland environment long provided an abundance of seasonal food and resources for the Wadawurrung people, who used the strappy vegetation to make baskets and build fish traps.
The site would later become the inaugural home of the Geelong Racing Club, with the first racecourse built in 1849.
It hosted the Geelong Cup from 1872 to 1906, before the club moved to the current racecourse in Breakwater.
The farm was called Sparrovale after ER Sparrow, the secretary of the Geelong Racing Club.
Commenting on the project, Greater Geelong Mayor, Stephanie Asher stated "Sparrovale is an exciting project that will deliver a world-class wetland and a practical drainage measure to support the expanding Armstrong Creek community. It is a living example of a clever and creative solution that also aligns with our intention to take a leadership position with sustainability.
"A key aspect of our Sustainability Framework is measuring and managing our environmental impacts."
The City will present an overview of the Sparrovale wetlands project at the National Wool Museum on Saturday 28th March, as part of the Geelong Nature Forum.
Click here for more information on the week-long, multi-dimensional Geelong Nature Forum.
Image: The Sparrovale Nature Reserve, courtesy of the City of Greater Geelong.
24th January 2020 - New skate park opens in Geelong
9th January 2020 - Geelong pools introduce new water safety measures
17th December 2019 - New synthetic surface benefits athletes in Geelong
17th November 2019 - Geelong Council approves Lara Recreation Reserve Master Plan
20th June 2019 - Former Geelong boatyard to be transformed into new beachside park
20th October 2018 - Jack’s Point wins international tourism award for Nature Protection
19th May 2018 - World’s protected areas suffer ‘shocking’ human impact
25th August 2015 - Victorian Government backs tourism in Geelong and the Bellarine
12th November 2014 - Only one in four protected areas is well managed
3rd July 2014 - Geelong Council invites public input to open space strategy
7th November 2011 - Wetlands Ecotourism project opens new opportunities for Fleurieu region
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