Project summary

In 2016, Unitywater purchased two lots of former cane farming land on River Road, Maroochy River as part of a larger program to improve the health of the rivers and creeks in the area. Much of the former cane land is being restored as a wetland.

This wetland removes nutrients and sediments from the river, which improves water quality and overall river health. Unitywater can offset the amount of nutrients removed by these wetlands against the nutrients discharged to the Maroochy River following treatment of the local community’s sewage.

Watch our Yandina Creek Wetland vlog

Check out the third episode of our Yandina Creek Wetland vlog. You'll hear about the benefits for the environment and community, and how bird populations are returning to the site. Our Strategic Planning Manager Partha Susarla explains that before purchasing the site, Unitywater carried out a cost comparison of using the wetland as a nutrient offset versus constructing a traditional sewage treatment plant. It showed that over a 25-year period, Unitywater would save about $1 million through the wetland option.

Vlog: Episode 3

Vlog: Episode 2

Watch it now!

Check out the second episode of our Yandina Creek Wetland vlog. You'll see how our partner, University of the Sunshine Coast (USC), is monitoring the ecology of the site and how fish are now able to access a greater area of the wetland. Over time, we expect that we'll see bigger populations of fish, crabs and other crustaceans.  

Watch it now! 

Unitywater’s Environmental Affairs Manager Kylie Crouch kicks off our vlog series, providing an overview of the Yandina Creek Wetland site and how it has the potential to be an environmental hub on the Sunshine Coast.

Each episode will focus on a different aspect of the site and you’ll hear from our partners, including two universities, and BirdLife Southern Queensland who are undertaking bird surveys.

Vlog: Episode 1

 

Unitywater has a Site Management Plan in place to guide and inform maintenance and care of the land at Yandina Creek.

 

How we will look after the site

  • We must protect this land, as we do with all other Unitywater sites. We have established arrangements for routine land management tasks, including maintenance of fire breaks and access trails, periodic weeding, mosquito treatment, feral animal management and the clean-up of any litter.
  • Unitywater routinely inspects the site to monitor the re-establishment of the wetland environment, including the vegetation, local waterways and soils. We now have monitoring programs established with:
  • Birdlife Southern Queensland (quarterly surveys on birdlife)
  • University of Sunshine Coast (fish habitat study)
  • Griffith University (vegetation dynamics, soil and nutrient studies)
  • Verterra Ecological Engineering (monitoring of water quality, vegetation and general site condition).

This monitoring allows us to better understand and track both the wildlife and plant life and other benefits of the wetland re-establishing at the site. 

  • Access to the site is prohibited until Unitywater has completed all of the work we need to do, and to maintain public safety while this work takes place. Only people who are authorised by Unitywater in writing may access the land. All of the land around this site is privately owned and must not be used to access Unitywater's land.

 

Plants and wildlife at the site

The building blocks of vegetation recovery can already be seen on the Yandina site, and as the wetland environment matures these plant communities should expand in the years ahead, including:

  • casuarinas

  • salt pan vegetation including grassland and sedgeland

  • mangroves

  • melaleuca open forest.

 

Wildlife

As the wetland matures in the years ahead, a range of birds and animals should return to the site. We are already seeing initial improvements at the site. Check out the vlog episodes for more information. 

Aerial drone video 

 

Unitywater is pursuing nutrient offsetting as a low-cost alternative to treatment plant upgrades that also enables us to protect human health and the environment. At the Yandina Creek site:

  • we will make the most of the natural processes by re-establishing the wetland environment and allowing tidal water from the river to enter parts of the site.

  • the wetland plants and micro-organisms in the soil will take up the nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus from the tidal water.

  • we calculate how much nutrients the site will take up and this is incorporated into its treatment plant environmental licence limits. 

  • These wetlands are estimated to remove 5.3 tonnes of total nitrogen per annum.

The end result? We meet our licence limits, public health is safeguarded, the environment is protected and we cater for growth, all thanks to a sensible strategy of letting nature take its course.

 

       Yandina Creek Wetland

Yandina Creek Wetland

 Yandina Creek Wetland

Yandina Creek Wetland