Media releases

Wetlands make a return to Yarra River – Birrarung

8 December 2022

Native wetlands are returning to the heart of Melbourne, with the launch of the trial Floating Wetlands project on the Yarra River – Birrarung.

Five large wetlands will be towed onto the river in the coming weeks, occupying three prime locations at Yarra’s Edge near Webb Bridge, the Turning Basin at Enterprize Park, and Victoria Harbour Promenade in Docklands.

The Floating Wetlands trial is a joint initiative of the City of Melbourne and the State Government. The project has been funded through a $700,000 grant from the Victorian Government as a priority for Burndap Birrarung burndap umarkoo – the Yarra Strategic Plan – and was first identified by the City of Melbourne’s 2019 Yarra River Strategy.

The initiative also marks an important milestone for the city shaping Greenline Project, with the outcome of the wetlands trial to inform the overall Greenline design.

The wetlands are made from a series of interlocking platforms, which are placed on the water and anchored to the riverbed. Hundreds of young, native Indigenous plants will be used to will help the local wildlife flourish and support the river’s natural ecosystem.

The wetlands have been designed to encourage plant growth and support the return of native wildlife, with perching posts, drying banisters, basking areas, sunken planting and small ramps.

The trial includes an establishment period, with the young plants protected from damage and monitored by the City of Melbourne

The lower stretch of the Yarra River – Birrarung was once a rich ecosystem of riparian vegetation and seasonal wetlands, making it an important place for the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung, the Bunurong, and the people of the broader Eastern Kulin nation.

The trial project will offer important insights into the role of native wetlands in supporting a healthy ecosystem, provide opportunities to learn about their cultural importance, and be used to inform future projects to improve urban waterways.

For more information about the trial Floating Wetlands project visit the City of Melbourne website.

Quotes attributable to Lord Mayor Sally Capp

“The trial Floating Wetlands is another step forward for the Greenline Project and a beautiful way to return native plants and animals to the heart of our city.”

“Hundreds of lush green plants will soon float on the river, allowing us to study the role of native wetlands while also helping to revitalise our most important waterway.”

“These wetlands will add to the calming, natural environment of the Yarra River – Birrarung, and will give visitors and residents more reason to choose this precinct as a spot to unwind with co-workers, friends and family.”

Quotes attributable to Environment portfolio lead Councillor Rohan Leppert

“The Yarra River – Birrarung is Melbourne’s most iconic waterway and the foundation around which the entire city was built.”

“The floating wetlands are a significant step forward in helping to improve the river’s health and support the return of native birds and local wildlife.”

“A healthy river system is vital for a growing city like Melbourne and we need to encourage projects like this which protect and support our native ecosystems and biodiversity.”

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8 December 2022

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