ENVIRONMENTAL science students at Southern Cross University got the chance to visit the Slaters Creek constructed wetland in North Lismore on Monday and learn about the positives of modern stormwater treatment techniques.
Third-year SCU students from the unit Ecotechnology for Water Management got to explore the wetlands with their tutor Antony McCardell, who said one of the great benefits of the environmental science courses at SCU was the wide range of natural and manmade environments available for students to visit on a field trip.
“With increasing human impacts on waterways there is a growing need for urban planning to approach stormwater and wastewater management in ways that benefit both humans and the environment,” Dr McCardell said.
Lismore City Council had commissioned the $180,000 wetland to improve the creek’s water quality – identified as containing high levels of pollution – before it enters the Wilsons River.
Now the wetland is showing good signs of working efficiently following a period of settling, is also attracting bird life and has improved the amenity of public open space in the area, the council has said.
A technical analysis of the wetland was provided for the students by Katrina Curran from the Water and Carbon Group, which designed the wetland and monitors it.
“Wetland habitats have been severely impacted as a result of urban development through changes to both water quality and quantity entering waterways,” Ms Curran said.
“New urban areas are now required to treat stormwater but this project is important as it seeks to improve water quality and biodiversity in an area that has already been developed.”
As well as treating stormwater effectively by mimicking nature’s own systems of filtration, the wetland complements restoration work undertaken by the Banyam/Baigham Landcare Group over the past few years.