Published on 01 February 2019

Discover the beauty of Hart Road wetland this World Wetlands Day

It’s mid-morning on a weekday during the school holidays; everything is still, the air is warm, and birds are singing as they rustle around in the trees and shrubs.

Looking around there’s native plantings and gravel trails that wind as far as the eye can see. There’s a relaxed and peaceful feeling to the place, even though there’s homes nearby.

Around the corner there are native waterfowl energetically paddling towards the reeds, and sitting on a bench is a mother and her daughter laughing at the antics of the resident Musk Duck.

A father and daughter ride past on their bikes, and about 30m ahead is a woman setting into a comfortable jog.

They’re all out enjoying the beautiful surrounds of the Hart Road Wetland in Aldinga Beach.

But there’s more than meets the eye to this wetland.

The Hart Road Wetland – part of the Water Proofing the South project – was constructed to harvest, treat and store rainfall and stormwater from the surrounding Aldinga Beach area.

The treated water is injected into an underlying aquifer system before it’s pumped through a network of underground pipes to irrigate parks, reserves, sports fields and ovals in the council area.

The wetland comprises three capture areas that are connected by winding gravel paths and bridges, making it a popular place for weekend strollers, runners, bird watchers and even school students getting a hands-on learning experience.

The Hart Road Wetland is one of many wetlands across the Onkaparinga region designed and created by council, and each one plays an important role in the urban environment.

“Wetlands are a vital part of our ecosystem,” explains Ben Moulton, Senior Natural Areas Conservation Officer at the City of Onkaparinga.

“They can support a range of native fauna, providing a rich breeding, foraging and protective habitat for local wildlife including fish, reptiles and a range of migratory bird species.

“The benefits to the community are wide-ranging too. They’re a peaceful haven where residents can take some time out and they can be a great outdoor classroom too where people of all ages can see and learn about the environment.”

It’s for these reasons we need to protect and preserve wetlands, and that’s the message this World Wetlands Day.

World Wetlands Day – celebrated internationally each year on 2 February – aims to raise awareness of the important role of wetlands and promote conservation of wetlands, whether they are natural or artificial.

Simple ways to protect wetlands include responsibly disposing of rubbish and recyclables, keeping pets at home to protect the local wildlife, reporting any illegally dumped rubbish, not introducing any exotic animal or plant species, and respecting fences and exclusion zones.

“Keeping our streets clean and litter free is so important because stormwater run-off from roads ends up down the drain and into local creeks and wetlands, taking litter with it,” Ben says.

Council often holds events at the wetlands including discovery walks with experts who provide insight into the wildlife that call the wetlands home.

The Hart Road Wetland is only 2km from the Aldinga foreshore, immediately north of the Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park, and has ample car parking and linkages to surrounding reserves, playgrounds and local shops.

For more information on wetlands in the City of Onkaparinga visit the council website here.

Kimberley and Harper enjoy the morning with the wetland's local residents.