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Blue-billed Duck update

After receiving reports in early 2021 of Blue-billed Duck breeding on the dam our ecologist, Ecocentric Environmental Consulting, has since visited and pleasingly confirmed the presence of a Blue-billed Duckling on the site. Since undertaking regular assessments of the site in 2014, this is the first recorded evidence of a Blue-billed Duckling at the existing dam.

Our ecologist has continued to monitor the site and in early 2022 reported additional Blue-billed Duck sightings. We will continue to attend the site to monitor the behaviour of the duckling and ensure there are no works being undertaken on site which could impact any potential duck breeding. The full ecological reports are available in the resources tab.

Background to Wetland Design

There’s been lots of interest in our proposed wetland at Knoxfield and what it will mean for the community and the environment.

When we first started our master planning for the Knoxfield project our first consideration was to try to keep the existing dam as we knew it was significant to the community. Importantly, we knew it was already home to a number of different species including the Blue-billed Duck.

We asked expert ecologists and hydrologists to review the existing dam and the options available. We asked them to consider community safety, the ecological and environmental contribution of the dam and other features required by the development. The advice was clear and recommended the removal of the unsafe existing dam and the development of new wetlands to enhance the current habitat for fauna to provide an accessible and safe experience for the community. The proposed wetlands design was also recommended to mitigate flooding and provide stormwater treatment to help improve the health of our waterways.

One thing is clear and that is our commitment to deliver wetlands which will be good for the community and the environment, protect and enhance the natural habitat, including that of the endangered Blue-billed Duck, and provide safe access for the community.

We want to give the Blue-billed Duck and other species the best opportunity to thrive on site. To achieve this, the new wetlands have been designed with the ducks at front of mind, backed by comprehensive advice of experts in this area.

 View the supporting background reports.

It should be noted that regardless of the Knoxfield Development the dam will still need to be drained to facilitate the necessary repairs to allow it to remain onsite. 

The new wetland

Central to the new Knoxfield community will be a new wetland area with enhanced habitat for wetland flora and fauna.  It remains our priority to enhance the natural habitat for the endangered, Blue-billed Duck to entice the species to stay and breed at the wetland. 
The proposed new wetland is expected to significantly improve the water quality, and in turn improve the available breeding and nesting habitat for the Blue-billed Duck. This breeding habitat is currently limited on site. The new wetland will provide a healthier and safer waterbody for the Blue-billed Duck and other wildlife. 

Wildlife transition

Download the five-stage construction process here.

Carefully staged construction will enable vegetation to be established in the new wetland prior to any works on the existing dam. This will also allow the wildlife currently using the existing dam to transition to the new wetland during the overall construction process.

Once construction of the new open wetland at the northern end of the site is finished, technical experts will, where possible, carefully relocate the flora and aquatic species from the current dam to the new wetland. Allowing the vegetation in the new wetland to establish first will also enable water birds currently using the site to relocate to the new wetland.

As the Blue-billed Duck is a shy species it is not certain it will migrate to the new wetland within the 12- month transition period and there may be a gap in its presence from the site. 

The wetland however has been designed with the Blue-billed Duck in mind, particularly providing better breeding habitat and we do expect its ultimate return when the wetland matures.

The new wetland will be developed through a staged redevelopment with construction of open water habitat in the northeast of the site prior to any redevelopment of the dam for Water Sensitive Urban Design treatment systems and provision of Blue-billed Duck breeding habitat. Development Victoria will work closely with an expert team, as well as other industry experts and the community where possible, to ensure the timing of construction and the establishment period is appropriate.

Updated on 07 June 2022