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Spring has sprung at Annulus Billabong

Ducks by the dozen are swimming, feeding and breeding at Annulus Billabong following a delivery of water for the environment in October 2020.

The delivery partially filled Annulus Billabong creating an ideal habitat for aquatic species including frogs and waterbugs and will supporting the growth of threatened wetland plant species.

Located alongside the Yarra River near Ivanhoe, Annulus Billabong holds cultural connection for the Wurundjeri Woi-Wurrung people, is highly valued as a recreational site for walking, running and riding, and is home to many plant and animal species.

Most excitingly, duck families have taken up residence at the site.  Black ducks, chestnut teals and grey teals are floating around the billabong with their ducklings in tow foraging for food and keeping cool in the water.

Andrew Lees, local resident and President of Friends of Yarra Flats Park said that the local residents are delighted to see water in Annulus Billabong and particularly enjoy the bird life it has attracted.

“A lot of local residents have been talking about the billabong and saying that in the middle of the COVID19 (coronavirus) lockdown it was a wonderful tonic for them to be able to see the billabong come to life. It made the times more bearable.”

“I was down at the billabong one day and an older couple stopped and started chatting about the watering and they said that it is the best thing that has happen in the park for many years.”

The site also provides a drinking refuge for terrestrial animals such as kangaroos, which can be seen jumping amongst the trees and grazing near the water’s edge.

Partially filling the billabong will help reduce the number of terrestrial plant species at the site that grow on the bed of the billabong when it is dry.

Now, as the water level slowly recedes, threatened wetland plant species can begin to grow and develop. This helps ensure that there is a mix of vegetation types creating diversity to support the animals and birds that use the site. Weed control and revegetation will also be carried out in the New Year by the Narrap Rangers. Vegetation, frog and water level monitoring will be reviewed to feed into the long term solution for the site.

There are hundreds of billabongs scattered across the Yarra floodplain that support vital ecological, cultural and liveability values, yet they face many challenges. While high flows from the Yarra River periodically fill the billabongs, changes to the river and landscape over many years have reduced how frequently this occurs. This means the billabongs do not get as much water as they need to be healthy.

Melbourne Water, Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Corporation, Parks Victoria, local government and community members are developing a long-term strategy to guide management of wetlands’ environmental, cultural and social values.

Black Duck family, by Andrew Lees

Black Duck family, by Andrew Lees

Chestnut Teal family, by Andrew Lees

Chestnut Teal family, by Andrew Lees

Note: Water for the environment was delivered by the Melbourne Water Internal Delivery Team under strict COVID -19 protocol.

Further Information

For further information please call
03 9637 8951 or email
general.enquiries@vewh.vic.gov.au.

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Page last updated: 16/12/20