New wetland trail for Deep Creek

A water bird at the Deep Creek wetlands in Pakenham.

A wetland trail will be constructed at Pakenham’s Deep Creek Reserve, as part of $320,000 in funding towards local water projects.

Bass MP Jordan Crugnale announced $200,000 of the sum would be put towards the Pakenham project, as part of a greater $48.4 million investment in shovel-ready water projects.

“The Wetlands Wonder Discovery Trail at Pakenham will be a great addition to the 48-hectare environmental and recreational area,” Ms Crugnale said.

The proposed wetland trail is set to include three boardwalks – each with viewing platforms – along three creeks that converge at the site.

Educational signage will explain the important role that wetlands play in treating stormwater runoff into Western Port Bay, as well as the importance of general land and water management.

The boardwalk – which is set to be constructed using recycled composite deck material – will complement an educational facility at the reserve, which also includes six hectares of wetlands.

The State Government believe the project will “fill a gap” in Melbourne’s south east by providing an educational centre for schools and the wider community to obtain an improved understanding of the diverse function of a regional wetland system and its overall role in the water cycle.

The project will be delivered in partnership with Cardinia Shire Council, South East Water, Melbourne Water and the Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation.

Meanwhile, Ms Crugnale also announced $120,000 will be used to test the suitability of aquifers to improve stormwater and groundwater management, as well as capturing and storing stormwater before it runs into Western Port.

“This project will deliver a better understanding of aquifer storage and recovery recharge opportunities for improving the environment and economic production in the Western Port catchment,” she said.

The $48.4 million put aside for the water projects is part of the State Government’s $2.7 billion Building Works package, which aims to get thousands back to work amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Water Minister Lisa Neville said economic growth in the Western Port catchment was dependent on the availability of fit-for-purpose water.

“We’re creating jobs across Victoria with funding for projects in metropolitan Melbourne and in regional Victoria,” she said.