Our Urban Communities team in Victoria, Australia has been supporting the development of a new wetlands system at The Grove community in Tarneit that will create a thriving ecosystem for local bird and frog species, while providing picturesque open space for people of all ages to enjoy.

SMEC has been involved with the development since 2017 and our team is working with Frasers to deliver a further 1,000 lots and 11ha of wetlands and waterways, having already delivered approximately 700 lots. Our team is also proud to have just closed out Stages 36 to 38 of development which included 735 metres of constructed waterway, a four-way signalised intersection and 500 metres of dual carriageway road.

The wetlands and connected waterways, already under construction at The Grove, will combine 75,000 plants and breath-taking landscape design to transform a section of the community into scenic play and picnic spaces, and walk and cycle paths sure to attract visitors far and wide.

In addition to providing an attractive outdoor space for the community, the wetlands system will also perform an important water filtration function, helping preserve the health of surrounding waterways.

“The wetlands are used to capture the sediment and nutrients in the low flow stormwater so these pollutants don’t enter the Werribee River,” says Peter Shellie, National Principal Project Manager for Urban Communities at SMEC.

“There is a central waterway with two wetlands, one servicing the eastern portion of the development and the other servicing the western portion.”

Mr Shellie says aquatic plants help strip nutrients from stormwater flowing through the wetlands, before the water continues its flow to the Werribee River. The wetlands have been designed to meet Melbourne Water’s best practice requirements.

Ilka Paraiso, Project Landscape Architect at SMEC, says an impressive 75,000 plants will be imbedded in the wetlands park once landscaping work is complete.

“The wetlands will only have indigenous plant species and they will be sourced exclusively from seeds of local provenance to the Werribee River catchment area,” Ms Paraiso says.

“Some of the species we will have on the wetlands are Ficinia nodosa, Juncus sp.,Carex sp., and Lomandra sp. They are all indigenous grasses, groundcovers and aquatic plant species adapted to wet and semi-wet environments.”

Ms Paraiso says the Werribee River catchment is home to more than 330 bird species and the proposed wetlands will be an extended habitat for swans, ducks, coots, wedge-tailed eagles, geese, ibis, cormorants – even lorikeets – in the area.

There are also 11 frog species in the Werribee River catchment, including threatened species Growling Grass Frog and Bibron’s Toadlet. Other key species in the catchment include the Striped Legless Lizard and Golden Sun Moth. Ms Paraiso says the wetlands will provide a varied and healthy sanctuary for species in the catchment and will encourage residents of The Grove to learn more about sustainability and their local environment.

The Grove is located just 32 kilometres from Melbourne’s CBD, a short 31-minute train ride from the new Tarneit Train Station.

Image – Artist’s impression. Indicative only and subject to change and development approval