Innovative Pilot Program to Strip Nutrients Naturally From WA Wetland

Friday, 8 April, 2016


The City of Cockburn in Western Australia is undertaking an innovative pilot program which aims to improve vegetation cover and increase native animal activity around Yangebup Lake.

The lake is a eutrophic wetland, meaning it has an excessive richness of nutrients. It is also part of the internationally significant Beeliar Wetlands, which stretches 25kms along WA’s coast comprising 26 lakes.

To restore water quality and reduce activity of the pesky and aptly named nuisance midge, the City of Cockburn took a proactive approach, pioneering more natural methods to restore the wetland. They constructed a nutrient stripping basin which uses a solar powered pump and works by using wetland vegetation to filter excess nutrients as the water flows through a meandering channel.

ELA has assisted the City of Cockburn with baseline monitoring and observations to inform if the project is improving the overall health of the wetland. It’s looking good for the many local bird watchers, walkers and cyclist who enjoy sharing their local lake. Along with significant fauna such as bandicoots, possums, frogs, turtles, lizards and a number of bird species prevalent in and around the lake, ELA’s work in sampling water quality has found an increased diversity of water bugs, with a community being established within only four months.

ELA looks forward to seeing how this project benefits the restoration of Yangebup Lake. If successful, this approach could have many more applications in improving the quality of wetlands in this region and throughout the Swan Coastal Plain which continues to experience similar issues.