Floating Island for Sir Joseph Banks Park: Bayside

Bayside Council is partnering with the Fix It Sisters Shed, WIRES and Western Sydney University in a pilot research project funded by NSW Ports to create a floating island in Sir Joseph Banks Park pond for swans and turtles.

“It is exciting to see Council and NSW Ports partnering with community groups on this project to provide a safe nesting place for our black swans,” Mayor Dr Christina Curry said.

“Students from Western Sydney University will also provide valuable research for this project that will help improve the biodiversity and natural habitat in Sir Joseph Banks Park.

“There has been a lot of community interest in caring for the swans and I am pleased Council is doing all it can to improve the safety of nesting wildlife around the pond.”

The Fix It Sisters received a grant from NSW Ports for this project to create a predator safe location for swans, turtles, and other wildlife to nest on.

NSW Ports CEO Marika Calfas said the business was delighted to support this local wildlife project as part of the NSW Ports Community Grants Program for 2022.

“NSW Ports is a proud and active member of the communities in which we operate, and we’re passionate about sustainability and exploring ways to enrich our local environment,” Ms Calfas said.

“This innovative collaboration is an excellent example of what can be achieved when we work together to build strong, sustainable, prosperous neighbourhoods of which we can all be proud.”

The Fix It Sisters, in consultation with Western Sydney University, will build a 6m X 3m floating island using the Glenbrook floating island as a blueprint.

A floating island, anchored in the middle of the ponds, will increase the chances of survival for both species.

The floating island is essentially a vegetated pontoon structure made of plastic tubing with aquatic plants, and coconut fibre and geotextiles. Hollow logs and branches can also be placed on it. The island is anchored in place and the plants will eventually make their way through the base and absorb nutrients in the water.

The benefits of such an island include:

  • A predator safe location for water birds and turtles to nest, roost and breed
  • Increase biodiversity in SJBP
  • Continuation of Council’s efforts to improve the water quality of the pond
  • Contribution to research on preservation of freshwater turtles
  • Enjoyment and education of park users

The Fix It Sisters are experienced in building homes or nests for wildlife, and are known for building burrows and nests for penguins and stormy petrels.

The project is also lucky to have on board, Western Sydney University, Associate Professor Ricky Spencer who is a leading expert in turtles.

Associate Professor Spencer will collect data on the turtles as part of a national citizens science program, one million turtles which supports turtle conservation efforts.

Council’s Environmental Team will assist with site location and installation of the floating island.

This project fits in with Council’s plan for managing the Mill Stream and Botany Wetlands Corridor while helping to improve the biodiversity of this valuable green space.

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