Urrbrae Wetland is a working and teaching wetland in the heart of the suburbs of Mitcham. Situated on the grounds of Urrbrae Agricultural High School in Netherby, Urrbrae Wetland is an example of what can be achieved when local and state governments, and the community work together.
In the early 1990s the City of Mitcham and Urrbrae Agricultural High School were independently investigating a wetland project in the Urrbrae area. Council needed to resolve a flooding problem along Cross Road, while the School wanted to stop frequent flooding on its farmland and broaden its environmental curriculum.
A joint working party set about preparing a concept plan for a stormwater detention basin that could be used as an educational facility. After a suitable proposal was agreed upon, designs were then developed, funding secured, and construction started in July 1996. Urrbrae Wetland was officially opened in April 1997 by the Premier John Olsen. Construction was funded by the State Government, former Patawalonga Catchment Water Management Board and Council.
How does it work?
Urrbrae Wetland has been designed as a stormwater detention basin to reduce the frequency of localised flooding for a 1 in 5 year flood event, yet it incorporates many characteristics of a wetland.
The quality of stormwater leaving the wetland is improved to some degree by removing litter and organic material through the trash racks and sediment in the ponds. Other pollutants ‘settle out’ of the water, while some are broken down by ultra-violet radiation from the sun. The figure below explains how the system works.
For more information on the Urrbrae Wetlands, please visit the Urrbrae Wetland Learning Centre site.
The work of the volunteer group ‘Friends of the Urrbrae Wetland' is an essential part of the Urrbrae Wetland. They meet every Tuesday from 8.30am to 12noon and work on maintenance, planting, watering, weed eradication, open days and guided tours.
Their work in caring for the wetland has created an extraordinary ambience about the wetland. They have turned a plant free, barren site into a wonderful indigenous, landscaped garden and seed bank as it might have been in 1836 prior to European settlement and land clearance.
The volunteers have also created a most relaxing and invigorating experience for the visitor and the surrounding suburbs.
For further information, contact the City of Mitcham on 8372 8888 or the Urrbrae Wetland Manager on 8272 6010.
Trash rack collections:
Jointly managed – City of Mitcham and Urrbrae Agricultural High School
Benefits of Urrbrae Wetland
- Reduces the frequency of local flooding
- Reduces pollutants and pathogens in stormwater entering the Patawalonga basin,
- Research and education facility for the community
- Habitat for local native animals and plants
- Stormwater for irrigation