The Bayswater Brook Catchment is one of the largest urban catchments in the Perth Metropolitan area, with an area of approximately 27,000 hectares. Many of the current drains were once natural watercourses that have been modified for use as drainage channels. Everything that enters the drains in the catchment is discharged into the Swan and Canning Rivers, and local wetlands.
Why is it a problem?
The Bayswater Brook is the fifth highest contributor of nutrients into the Swan River. High nutrient levels can have serious environmental consequences.
Bayswater Brook is mainly situated on Bassendean sands, which are poor at retaining nutrients. This means any nutrients applied to the surface will seep through the soil and enter the groundwater, which eventually enters water bodies within the catchment and causes problems.
Plants require nutrients, specifically nitrogen and phosphorous to grow. However, in high quantities these nutrients can cause water quality problems, including algal blooms. The increased algae growth decreases the amount of sunlight available to other plant life in the water, which prevents photosynthesis from occurring and can lead to fish deaths.
Algae can grow until it has used up all nutrient supplies, and will then start to die. In the process of decomposition, the algae will consume all the available oxygen in the water, meaning other organisms that need oxygen to survive will either have to leave the ecosystem or die.
Water bodies that have algal blooms have a foul smell due to the rotting organic matter, making them unsuitable for recreational purposes. This occurs periodically in the Swan River and local wetlands.
What is being done?
The Bayswater Brook Working Group, made up of representatives from the City of Bayswater, Swan River Trust, Perth Region Natural Resource Management (Perth NRM), Water Corporation, Department of Water, and CSIRO are working together to reduce the amount of nutrients entering the Swan River by implementing a Local Water Quality Improvement Plan for the Bayswater Brook.
The plan targets the current ecological condition, water quality and pollutant loads of the catchment, and focuses on five stages to help us achieve our goals - prevention, minimisation, reduction, amelioration (an improvement) and treatment.
Prevention is better than cure and the City is enforcing techniques to ensure positive environmental outcomes and water quality improvement.
The Morley Activity Centre is located within the catchment of the Bayswater Brook and has been identified as a priority catchment for water quality improvement. It is a hardened catchment with poor drainage outcomes, and the City intends to transform this by creating living streams and improving urban water design to positively impact water quality, increase biodiversity, and provide much needed blue-green space for the community.
Peters Place Reserve
A drainage site in Morley is about to be transformed into a micro wetland thanks to a partnership between the City and Water Corporation. The Peters Place Reserve micro wetland will continue to serve its purpose as a flood prevention site, while providing an attractive community asset with significant environmental benefits. Designed to mimic a natural wetland, native sedges and rushes will be planted to create habitat for birds, frogs, and other wildlife.
Russell Street Park
Russell Street Park is Morley's newest public open space. In addition to two living streams, the park features a ten-station ninja obstacle course and huge mural. The Department of Biodiversity, Attractions and Conservation contributed $50,000 towards the conversion of the area alongside the existing drainage basin into a series of living streams that will improve existing water quality, biodiversity and work to green the area.
A drain between Walter Road and Jakobsons Way is now a living, breathing wetland for the community to enjoy. Solar lighting and new fencing has been installed along the laneway to make the area more welcoming. The pump station adjacent to the drain has been transformed into public art by artist Peter Ryan as part of Water Corporation’s Splash of Colour Community Art Program.