The reconstructed Eric Singleton Bird Sanctuary in Perth received the Award for Excellence in Land Management 2017 from the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, Western Australia Chapter.

This is one of the largest wetland rehabilitation projects of its kind ever undertaken in Western Australia, made possible through multidisciplinary collaboration of landscape architects, engineers and ecologists from GHD and GHDWoodhead.

Conceived and funded by the City of Bayswater and the Swan River Trust (part of the Department of Parks and Wildlife), the project restored a deteriorating wetland, which suffered from declining bird numbers and poor water quality. It was named after Eric Singleton, a nature enthusiast and local resident, who was successful in having the wetlands reserved in the 1970s.

City of Bayswater Environment and Sustainability Manager, Jeremy Maher, coordinated the revitalisation and worked with the design team and community groups.

A variety of structures, including a gross pollutant trap, sedimentation ponds and weirs, divert water from Bayswater Brook into the reconstructed wetland, which passively treats the water and reduces pollutants flowing into the Swan River. It is expected to prevent 1.35 t of nitrogen, 200 kg of phosphorous, and around 40 t of sediment and other rubbish from entering the river.

Since opening, the wetland has achieved notable water quality improvements and attracted a diverse array of birds while also providing recreational opportunities for the public.

Renowned freshwater ecologist Professor Peter Davies, Pro Vice Chancellor at the University of Western Australia, said this is was one of the best examples of nutrient-rich water being diverted through a wetland.

According to the judges, “The project makes an important contribution to improving the health of the Swan River ecosystem, enhancing the amenity of our riverine environment, and creating a valued community asset. The landscape architects responded thoughtfully to many ecological challenges with outcomes demonstrating a high degree of skill and integration across a range of disciplines, reinforcing the vital role of landscape architects in improving our ecological systems.”

Martin Coyle, GHDWoodhead Principal – Landscape Architecture and Urban Design, says, “The horseshoe-shaped landform was not only hydraulically efficient but allowed the opportunity to create unique access for the community whilst protecting the flora and fauna. Locally native plant species were carefully selected for their nutrient removal capabilities and habitat benefit for migratory birds.”

The wetland also features small ‘eco-windows’ for observation as well as QR codes and online information that help visitors engage with this iconic environmental site.

The project also received an Engineering Excellence Award from Engineers Australia, Western Australia Division in 2016.

Photo courtesy of Douglas Mark Black Photography

Tags: Awards, News