Waterbird Refuge

The Waterbird Refuge project (formerly referred to as black swan habitat island project) has grown from the City’s South Perth Foreshore Strategy and Management Plan (SPF Plan) which identifies Node 7: The Lakes as an area to be developed as a water-based, ecologically focused precinct, restored, expanded and integrated into its surroundings. The SPF Plan also identifies the area as a location to be developed for bird breeding. 

The primary aim of the Waterbird Refuge project is to protect the foreshore reserve, improve habitat for native waterbirds and protect the riverbank from erosion, while providing a retreat for bird watching, breeding, ecology, and learning.

The project will replace damaged river walls with a habitat island, two vegetated headlands, a beach, and a planted rock revetment. 

The City has successfully secured $700,000 in funding from the Parks and Wildlife Service at the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions to support the $1.5 million project.

The City has started growing approximately 11,000 native plants, and 20 trees in its nursery for the project. The new trees will replace the introduced Casuarina species that have self-seeded in the area.

The City is working with community groups including volunteers from the Friends of the South Perth Wetlands to assist in environmental monitoring of the area. Bird numbers and nesting sites in and around the area will be counted before and after the project is constructed.

Construction of the Waterbird Refuge is anticipated to commence early 2021 subject to planning approvals and is expected to take 12 weeks.

Where is Node 7: The Lakes located?

Node 7: The Lakes is the area of South Perth Foreshore that sits east of Coode Street. This area contains a series of interconnected man-made lakes – Hurlingham Lake, Douglas Lake and Lake Tondut. It is an attractive and peaceful environment with an abundance of birdlife.

How do I find out more?

This page will be updated as more information becomes available - please view the progress tab below for the latest news about the project.

The project aims to improve habitat for native waterbirds and protect the riverbank from erosion.

The project will improve habitat by providing:

  • sloped access to the water for waterbirds (including black swans and pelicans) to provide an improved connection between terrestrial food sources, freshwater lakes, and the salt water river
  • sloping beaches on the foreshore and the island for foraging birds
  • roosting and nesting sites on the island for birds, free from predation by domestic dogs
  • a sheltered area of river water to enable;
  • shallow water between the island and the bank to cater for a wide variety of flora and fauna including the threatened fairy tern
  • take-off and landing by large birds on windy days when the water is disturbed
  • a freshwater film to form on the river surface, supplied by the existing lake outlets which provide a constant flow. The film can be drunk by birdlife
  • seagrass to grow on the riverbed to supply a food source for birds and aquatic species
  • fringing vegetation to the river
  • vegetation and logs to form windbreaks for native animals and plants and to provide roosting and perching sites for waterbirds
  • structure for shellfish reefs to form that clean river water and provide a food source for marine species.

The project will protect the riverbank from erosion by providing:

  • a robust edge to the river that accommodates sea level rise and storm surges
  • a treatment that requires minimal maintenance
  • protection of the recreational land behind the edge treatment
  • protection to the freshwater lakes by preventing spill-over of saline water.