Public to access world-class wetlands

World-class
wetlands within the largest nature reserve managed by the City will be expanded
under an innovative City project.

The futureSparrovale Nature Reserve will combine environmental and community benefits
with an important drainage solution for Armstrong Creek’s growing residential
population.

The 500-hectare
parcel of land, known as Sparrovale, was acquired by the City last
year.

Diverse natural
and constructed wetlands will occupy about 200 hectares of the property, which
adjoins the Barwon River and the internationally significant wetlands of Lake Connewarre and Hospital Swamps.

The Sparrovale
wetlands will be managed to protect biodiversity, which has been highlighted as
the theme of this year’s international World Wetlands Day on Sunday 2 February.

They will be
home to a large number of migratory shorebirds and waterbirds, including
sharp-tailed sandpipers, whiskered terns, a variety of ducks, herons, stilts
and brolga.

The $4.02
million project includes the creation and landscaping of linear wetlands,
earthen channels, access roads and drainage structures.

While
construction of the stormwater system is underway, the site is not open to the
public.

Once works are
complete, visitors will be welcome to enjoy the natural environment and open
space of the area.

Residents will
be able to help shape the design of the new public parkland through the
development of the forthcoming Sparrovale Master Plan.

The sustainable
wetland reserve project provides another chapter in the fascinating history of
the Sparrovale site, which is part of the Barwon River floodplain.

The wetland
environment long provided an abundance of seasonal food and resources for the
Wadawurrung people, who used the strappy vegetation to make baskets and build
fish traps.

The site would
later become the inaugural home of the Geelong Racing Club, with the first
racecourse built in 1849.

It hosted the
Geelong Cup from 1872 to 1906, before the club moved to the current racecourse
in Breakwater.

The farm was
called Sparrovale after ER Sparrow, the secretary of the Geelong Racing Club.

The City will
present an overview of the Sparrovale wetlands project at the National Wool
Museum on Saturday 28 March, as part of the Geelong Nature Forum.

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