14th August 2020
Restoring swamps in the Merri catchment.
Hanna Swamp Discussion Paper: Analysing the gaps in policy and planning for wetlands within Melbourne’s urban growth areas
Part of Hanna Swamp lies in the Beveridge North West Precinct Structure Plan (PSP) area. The draft PSP is currently being considered by a Planning Panel, and Mark Bachmann from the Nature Glenelg Trust is advocating for the inclusion of the swamp in the PSP. The paper explores what has happened to the wetland, and why, and the risks for these wetlands as the overarching Victorian Government water policy converges with the development planning system.
The Nature Glenelg Trust as worked on many such projects in the South east of Australia.
The Friends are supporting the campaign for these swamps to be restored as centrepieces of the proposed Wallan Regional Park. A feasibility study is underway. This park will also contribute to the vision of a linked parkland, the length of the creek, from the headwaters at Heathcote Junction, to Dights Falls, Abbotsford.
The park would provide an wonderful resource for local communities as development spreads north.
Hanna Swamp: a forgotten Wallan Wallan wetland that highlights the challenges of ‘business as usual’ urban development
Here is some of the history of Hanna Swamp. Illustrated through contemporary and current maps, you can see how this feature has persisted over time, even though drained for agricultutural purposes. It flows into the eastern side of the much larger Herne Swamp. Reversing the drainage system will stop the flow of water through the system, and allow the swamp to restore.
“For a site like this in the agricultural landscape, a drained wetland is never really lost – just think of it as being in an artificially induced state of drought. Return the water by reversing drainage impacts, as Nature Glenelg Trust have now done at dozens of wetlands across Victoria, and both ecological values and hydrological function can be recovered and restored in very quick time.
This means, artificial or not, once the drought breaks, natural wetlands are very forgiving ecosystems, capable of supporting wetland plants that are especially adept at bouncing back (e.g. from seed, rhizomes or other propagules), as well as a wide range of animals recolonising all by themselves, once the water returns.”
Map: Sydney M3: Merriang. 1840. (Detail) Historic Plans Collection. Public Record Office Victoria