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Lightning Swamp Bushland

Lightning Swamp is the largest bushland reserve in the City of Bayswater. It is one of the last remaining natural habitats of a diverse range of native flora and fauna. 

The natural reserve is important for the lifestyle quality of local residents, as the bushland contributes a better weather microclimate for the area and provides a natural setting to enjoy. 

The City of Bayswater and the Friends of Lightning Swamp have conserved and protected this bushland for over ten years. 

Location and description 

Lightning Swamp Bushland (LSB) is an area of bushland in Noranda, a north-eastern suburb of Perth. The bushland is bound on two sides by Tonkin and Reid Highways (north), the Della Road cul-de-sac (East), Malaga Drive (west), and to the south by Mathews Close, which provides the only entry into the area. 

The total area is 71.3 hectares of natural bushland, damp lands and wetlands. 

An open stormwater drain crosses the length of the site, draining into a seasonal wetland area at the eastern end of the bushland. The north-east corner of LSB is a Conservation Class 4 wetland, which contains water year round. 

Current condition

LSB is managed by the City of Bayswater and is an A Class Reserve. 

LSB was reserved for parks and recreation in 1963 as part of the Metropolitan Region Scheme and is a Bush Forever site. The bushland is a passive recreation destination and is known for its value as an area of natural bushland and wetland conservation. It offers a unique opportunity to view and enjoy a variety of flora and fauna still in existence on the Swan Coastal Plain. 

The Water Corporation drain that flows through the bushland is for the discharge of storm water from surrounding areas, which eventually flows into the Bennett Brook Reserve. It is essential the bushland and wetlands be retained in a healthy condition so they can filter and improve the quality of stormwater leaving the site. 

The bushland is in good natural condition, though it is affected by dieback and this is a major threat to its future condition and health, so needs to be continually and carefully managed. 

Significance

LSB is an island of natural bushland, significant in size and quality, and surrounded by industrial land to the north and urban areas on all other sides. It still displays some of the plant communities that once covered the Swan Coastal Plain, before urban development cleared and destroyed vast tracts of natural bushland. 

The area is in the transition zone between the Southern River Soil Complex and the Bassendean Soil Complex, and contains vegetation characteristics of both soil types. Hills of the Southern River soils have vegetation similar to the banksia woodlands of the infertile Bassendean sands. However, vegetation in drainage lines and valleys of the Southern River Complex is characterised by forests of Marri, Wandoo and Flooded Gum. Only a small proportion of Southern River Complex vegetation type remains uncleared on the Swan Coastal Plain, the majority having been cleared for agriculture or development. 

The amount remaining undisturbed of the broad vegetation category was 17% in 2000. Within this broad group, it is likely specific subcategories of vegetation are even rarer. Two examples of threatened lower groupings at LSB are the Banksia illicifolia woodland and the perched wetland.

How are we protecting the bushland?

The City supports the restoration works of the Friends of Lightning Swamp Bushland. The friends group and the City have a unique relationship in jointly managing the bushland, and Council is supportive of the tireless work and effort of the group. 

Some of the restoration works the Friends of Lightning Swamp and City have carried out at the reserve include: 

  • Perimeter fencing of the reserve to prevent off road vehicles & motorbikes 
  • Installation of 3.6 kilometers of limestone track to encourage people to walk or ride in the bushland while protecting fauna and flora 
  • Community restoration of the five hectare farm site established in 1933
  • Planting over 45,000 native seedlings 
  • Dieback mapping, isolating prone areas & developing a dieback management plan
  • Planting
  • Weed control
  • Dieback control
  • Installation of a large boardwalk beside the eastern wetland
  • Environmental studies and surveys. 
Management plan

The Lightning Swamp Bushland Management Plan is being reviewed. For a general overview of the bushland, please view the 2002 Lightning Swamp Bushland Management Plan. 

If you would like to find out more about the bushland or are interested in joining the Friends of Lightning Swamp, you can contact: 

  • Mr John Williams President, Friends of Lightning Swamp 9275 7338. 
  • Mr Jeremy Maher, Manager Sustainability and Environment, City of Bayswater 9272 0622. 
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