Passionate residents fight to save wetlands

Concerns have been raised over the deteriorating condition of the Bellara Bibimulya Wetlands and its impact on local residents and ecosystem.

Residents who reside near or on the extremity of the wetlands met onsite with Moreton Bay Regional Council recently to discuss ways to remedy the situation.

The wetlands area now makes up three small lakes on which residents Eileen and Andrew Crane have resided for more than 20 years.

Andrew says the wetlands were reconfigured by council just over a decade ago, changing the whole ecosystem and drainage paths.

“Originally this whole area was a salt water marsh with mangroves, wildlife and crabs until council developed it into three lakes,” Andrew said.

Andrew and Eileen said the redevelopment works were designed for storm water to drain into the first lake to allow the sediment to settle, then flow into the second lake, and ultimately into the third lake and then out to Pumicestone Passage.

“When council reconfigured the area, they left little space for machinery to access,” Eileen said.

“Now the drains are blocked with sediment which keeps building up layer by layer and with every heavy rainfall we have flooding up on to the banks.

“The nutrient in the sediment has encouraged salvinia (a noxious weed) to breed. We used to have pelicans, spoonbills and egret visit, now we only have water hen and ibis,” Eileen said.

Another resident who only purchased in the area five months ago cannot believe the deterioration of the wetlands during that time.

When she arrived, the wetlands were thriving and birdlife and fish were abundant.

“It is now solid sludge. The council keeps spraying the weed, but it needs dredging.”

Councillor Brooke Savige informed concerned residents that remedial works would be carried out.

“Council wants to fix these problems and they will, particularly when this has been left for so long with only maintenance issues being fixed but not the more substantial drainage and waterways issues being looked at,” Cr Savige said.

A council spokesperson said council officers had inspected the site and maintenance works were scheduled for the area.

“We have installed booms to prevent the spread of the weed and will be conducting a range of treatment activities to manage salvinia in the area.

Council said maintenance works would also include unblocking drainage areas and tidal gates.

“Bibimulya Wetlands are an important stormwater asset designed to improve water quality and catchment flows,” the council spokesperson said.

“These wetlands act as filtration systems to remove pollutants like sediment, nitrogen and phosphorus from stormwater discharging from the surrounding suburban catchment.

“When our wetlands are healthy it encourages the growth of natural vegetation that treats the water before entering Pumicestone Passage.”

Council said it would continue to treat aquatic weeds, such as salvinia, in the waterway.

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