Wetlands AustraliaNational Wetlands Update 2012
Issue No. 20, February 2012
Protecting Gold Coast Beaches - using coastal wetland habitat to improve water quality
Kris J Boody, Dan Parker, Gold Coast City Council
The site in May 2010 at high tide (Gold Coast City Council)
The Southport Broadwater Parklands Mangrove Wetlands Habitat Area has been constructed primarily to improve the stormwater quality going into the Broadwater from part of the Southport urban catchment area.
Southport is adjacent to Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast. Throughout the Broadwater Parklands, open spaces blend seamlessly with the beach and a number of created natural habitat areas. These areas take form as water gardens, constructed wetlands and landscaped gardens and their function is to filter stormwater using bio-retention processes, increasing water quality entering the ocean from a 3.2 hectare catchment of Southport's CBD.
These types of water sensitive urban designs are used in various park developments Australia-wide. What makes this development different is the fully accessible 1.2 hectare Mangrove Wetlands Habitat Area. Constructed from scratch, this area was once tidal waters of the broadwater. Now it has been rehabilitated to what it may have looked like before the Gold Coast's foreshore was developed 200 years ago.
The wetlands are located in Broadwater Parklands, a large expanse of newly developed parklands designed for tourism and recreation. Broadwater Parklands has an extensive entertainment calendar and hosts some of the Gold Coast's premier events, including the Gold Coast Marathon, large-scale concerts such as The Wiggles and regular movies in the park. The Rockpools at Broadwater Parklands is a popular water play area with cool water fountains and vibrant marine-themed equipment. It includes a creek bed and several tidal rockpools for children to splash in, dam and explore.
The Broadwater Parklands are linked through an extensive pathway system. Assets such as water tanks, solar panels, recycled plastic furniture, barbecues and swimming enclosures help to link the natural vegetation with the park's facilities. The paths run around the mangrove area, which has been a great asset for education and awareness of the need to enhance and protect our coastal bay waters. Local school groups and international visitors use this mangrove wetlands area to see how a natural system can be constructed and used as a stormwater treatment device.
The site in August 2011 at high tide (Gold Coast City Council)
Gold Coast City Council's Catchment Management Unit (CMU) is undertaking a mangrove survey and monitoring program to measure the success of this built mangrove habitat, seagrass translocated, treatment of urban stormwater, enhancement of marine habitat and species diversity along the foreshore, and use of the wetlands for marine/coastal education facility in an urban setting.
Griffith University is also assisting with a number of research projects to evaluate and quantify this site for its habitat viability and capacity as a stormwater treatment device.
The Mangrove Wetlands Habitat area, though still in the establishment phase, is providing increased habitat area for various coastal plant and animal species while educating visitors of the importance of water quality and natural system processes taking place in and around our marine and ocean areas.
The Gold Coast City Council and Griffith University will be working on various research projects to understand and evaluate the site for changes to species diversity, mangrove condition, habitat use and capacity for mangroves to filter stormwater over the long term.
For further information contact:
- Kris Boody ,Catchment Liaison Officer, email@example.com, or
- Dan Parker, Technical Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org.