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One of the 3 ponds with sandstone pillars for the birds & the turtles

Today was the grand opening of the Cup & Saucer Creek Wetland in Canterbury.  We missed the official opening & the speeches, but apparently a good crowd of more than 100 people attended.

Sydney Water in co-operation with Canterbury Council have done something very special by creating a wetland from scratch. Despite its pretty name Cup & Saucer Creek is a concrete drain. It leads directly into the Cooks River taking with it anything & everything picked up in the local stormwater drains.

With the new wetland system, stormwater that comes down Cup & Saucer Creek gets diverted by a weir & taken into the first of 3 ponds.  Plants filter the water before it flows into 2 smaller ponds.  From these ponds, the water filters through the ground into the Cooks River or when it is really full, enters the lower end of Cup & Saucer Creek through an overflow system & then into the Cooks River.

30,000 plants (grasses & shrubs) have already been planted in the heavily mulched area with a further 10,000 water plants to be planted in the ponds soon. Around 30 Eucalypts, Turpentine & Angophoras have also been planted. Let’s hope they all survive.  One thing about Canterbury  Council that I like is that they do plant trees species that grow large & they don’t only rely on Casuarinas with a terrific selection of large trees along their section of the Cooks River parklands.

The storm water is diverted from Cup & Saucer Creek into the wetlands, then out into the lower section of Cup & Saucer Creek & then into the Cooks River

They also put down permeable paths. The only bit of cement I could see on the whole site was a little bit used to cement the sandstone seats together.

Elements such as sandstone blocks sticking out from the pond water appear Zen-like, but actually were installed for birds to perch & for the Sydney Long-necked Turtle to bask in the sun.  I didn’t know the Cooks River had turtles.  Apparently the turtles have trouble getting out of some sections of the river because of the steel & wooden purpose-built banks. So, this area will provide a safe habitat for them. Frogs, birds & other animals/insects will also benefit.  It’s like high-class housing for urban wildlife.

Right now the wetland is in its infancy, but it still looks beautiful. In 3-6 months time it will look very different as the grass & the plants will have grown. In 2 years it will look stunning.

Stream Watch will be collecting samples first from Cup & Saucer Creek & then from the end process of filtration to check on water quality & the efficiency of the wetlands. It will not only be a fantastic natural intervention to clean up stormwater pollution before it enters the Cooks River, but it will also do much to improve the water-quality of the river itself.  Imagine if all the councils along the Cooks River created wetlands like these. In time the river would become swimmable & that would be a great gift to leave our grandchildren & the urban wildlife of the future. A pelican was sunning on a sandbar in the river while we were there & everyone admired him.

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