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Work starts on water improvement projects

On Monday 27 March 2017, work began on a new project that will restore the natural environment of Isabella Pond, improve water quality in the Tuggeranong area and better prepare for rare flood events.

PondsThe Isabella Pond wetlands project is the first to be constructed as part of ACT Healthy Waterways, a joint initiative of the Australian and ACT governments to invest more than $80 million in the construction of water quality infrastructure on up to 25 sites across the ACT.

The area around Isabella Pond and Upper Stranger Pond will be fenced and water drained to allow for construction of the new wetlands which will attract birds and other native wildlife as well as play an important role in improving water quality downstream in Lake Tuggeranong, the Murrumbidgee River and the wider Murray-Darling Basin.

While Isabella and Upper Stranger ponds are drained, work will also be undertaken to upgrade Isabella Weir. This will bring the weir into line with national best practice guidelines and the recently introduced ACT Dam Safety Code. Tuggeranong Pond, downstream of Isabella Pond, will also need to be lowered during construction of the weir.  Tuggeranong Pond will not be emptied, but the level will be lowered by between one and two metres.

Draining of the ponds will also allow for the removal of carp, an introduced pest species.

In line with the project’s Construction Environment Management Plan and Aquatic Ecology Management Plan, fauna and flora that live in and around the ponds will be carefully managed during the project. Protocols will be in place to deal with any unexpected finds, from turtles or snakes to shopping trolleys. Any native species found while draining the ponds, for example Murray Cod, will be put into aerated water tanks and relocated to nearby Lake Tuggeranong. Water birds will relocate themselves and return when the work is completed.

Upper Stranger Pond will be allowed to refill once the carp have been removed but Isabella Pond will remain empty for 12-18 months to complete the weir upgrade and the construction of the wetlands.

Following the completion of all work the ponds will be restocked with native fish.

There will be minor disruption to off-peak traffic along Drakeford Drive during site establishment. For the duration of the project both ponds will be closed. Detours will be in place and clearly signposted for walkers and cyclists.

For more information about the upgrade of Isabella weir and construction of the wetlands is available on the Economic Development website.