Walking through the North Lake reserve is still quite confronting to some of us, not quite two years since Colin Barnett’s bulldozers tore a 5km gash through the wetlands and woodlands. For some on the walk it was their first visit back since witnessing the horror of the summer of 2016-17.
As we set off on our walk Felicity gave us an update of the past 21 months. First came the remediation of the construction site and then the development of a ten year management plan for the cleared area and surrounds to enable the best possible opportunity for restoration.
We walked through the remaining southern side of the reserve which while still a very diverse piece of bushland is sorely in need of some focussed weed control. (This part of the reserve is managed by DBCA who as we know are not well funded)
Reaching the road reserve and immediately we see the wetland-bushland divide of natural restoration. With only weed control and some protective fencing the wetland section has literally bounced back with pioneer species such as kunzea establishing in their hundreds and now other wetland species reappearing. It is a sight that gives hope and demonstrates the amazing resilience of nature with a little help from its friends.
To the west is a different story. We knew the uplands were going to struggle in comparison and although there are areas of really encouraging regrowth some of the areas remain quite barren. Areas where the topsoil was especially disturbed and where mulch piles compacted and cooked the soil are going to need more intervention and TLC to come back. Now the road reserve is under the management of the City of Cockburn and the very competent Linda Metz leading the Management Plan there will be ample opportunities for our community to be involved in this process.
To see the first flowering of our most beautiful and sacred Christmas trees was a bonus for us all and by the time we returned to the Wetlands Centre it seemed we had all been inspired and encouraged by the strength of nature and community around us. It was a pretty special walk.