Neil McDougall Lake


Like many other wetlands and lakes across the Perth metropolitan area, Neil McDougall Lake experiences an almost yearly reccurrence of a dense Lemna (duckweed) mat that covers the lake. Blue-green algae blooms are also noted at the Lake when naturally occurring blue-green algae multiply quickly and dominate the water column.

A sustainable solution

The City is investigating a long-term, sustainable solution for the management of the duckweed and blue-green algae blooms. 

The lake has significant environmental values and is visited by a variety of birds including the Western Swamp Hen, Pacific Black Duck, Eurasian Coot and Black Swan, as well as the Western long-necked tortoise, and the surrounding parkland is home to numerous passerines and small native Fauna.

Neil McDougall Lake acts as an infiltration basin and receives stormwater from four catchments, resulting in excess nutrients and organic loading entering the lake. High level of nutrients promotes algal blooms and low oxygen conditions, which in turn stress aquatic organisms. Other contaminants, such as heavy metals, also enter the lake through the drainage network and together with nutrients accumulate in the sediment. These can be released into the water column and enter the food chain.  

The lake is shallow and has no outflow to promote flushing. As such there is an insufficient water movement to disrupt the blue-green algae growth cycle or to allow fringing vegetation to filter and remove nutrients.

Poor water movement and stagnation also lead to high temperatures in the water column in summer, which is one of the main factors fostering algal blooms. 

An integrated remediation solution has been designed to address the processes driving the algae and duckweed blooms. This system addresses the continual inputs of polluted stormwater and poor lake circulation and is designed to operate with minimum maintenance requirements.

The system will also provide a range of additional benefits such as:

  • Biodiversity enhancement and increased resilience
  • Enhancement of the landscape and amenity values of the lake and surrounds
  • Provision for nesting and shelters for native birds and animals
  • Opportunities for environmental education.

Community consultation

In March 2019 the community were invited to provide feedback on the preliminary water sensitive urban design.

A feedback and outcomes report is available on Your Say South Perth. The design was updated taking on board the feedback along with the outcomes of environmental studies.

The design has now been finalised and design was completed mid 2020. 

In early 2021 the City secured funds from the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Grant funding for implementation of the construction of stage 1. Stage 1 construction is anticipated to commence in early 2022 subject to procurement.


Related documents

Neil McDougall lake

Neil McDougall Lake works to address water quality

News Update 4 March 2022
Neil McDougall Lake Parks and Reserve works

The City will be undertaking environmentally sensitive works at Neil McDougall Lake to significantly improve the water quality, increase biodiversity and enhance the landscape and amenity value of the lake and surrounds.

The upgrades are designed to address the processes driving the blue-green algae and duckweed blooms by treating polluted storm water and improving lake circulation. 

The works will include establishment of new biofilter wetland zones, installation of circulation pumps and pollutant traps.

Works are scheduled to begin the week commencing 21 March 2022 and are expected to be completed in August 2022, weather permitting.  

Works will generally be confined to the hours of 7am to 5pm Monday to Friday. It may be necessary to carry out some activities outside of these hours, including Saturdays. Disruption and noise will be minimised during these times.

To facilitate the works, areas adjacent to the construction site may be restricted from public access and closures to footpaths will be implemented periodically. Please follow all signage and directions from worksite personnel when navigating the area. The project will be conducted in accordance with approved construction and environmental management plans to minimise the impact on the lake and flora and fauna.

This project is partially funded by the Australian Government’s Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program.

Find out more on this and other City Environmental Project.

Contact us

For more information, please contact the City.

Related Articles


A sustainable solution for Neil McDougall Lake

News Update 26 February 2019

The City has embarked on a project to provide a long-term, sustainable solution to manage Lemna minor, a non-harmful aquatic plant species in Neil McDougall Lake in Como.

Parks and Reserve works