Waterfall Park instigates substantial ecological restoration project13/12/18
Nestled amongst a secluded valley at the base of a picturesque waterfall and neighbouring the beautiful Mill Creek sits Waterfall Park. The revitalisation and restoration of the natural environment at Waterfall Park and associated areas, is integral to the long-term vision of what will be an oasis for guests and visitors to the area.
Initial revitalisation steps are complete at Waterfall Park. Approximately 13 hectares of wilding conifer and sycamore trees have been cleared, which are identified as introduced pest species to be removed from the region. More recently, a substantial native revegetation project of the valley walls was undertaken as a first step in improving stream health, birdlife and biodiversity in the area. The project entailed planting 16,000 native plants along the valley walls. Further substantial plantings, including riparian plantings to the margins of Mill Creek, are proposed as part of the hotel consent application.
To allow the anticipated potential of this secluded Waterfall Park valley to be realised a new access road is required. With the neighbouring Ayrburn land now being in common ownership, the opportunity to do this and provide significant ecological and public amenity benefits is now possible.
As part of the consent for this new access road, the riparian margins of Mill Creek over a stretch of approximately 611 metres will be restored with native shrubs and grasses. This would see 9,000 natives planted as early as spring 2019.
This riparian planting will provide a number of positive aquatic ecological benefits to Mill Creek and Lake Hayes. These include increasing the diversity of fish and macroinvertebrate habitat and reducing the potential for nuisance algae growth through the increased cover and shade to the creek channel. The riparian planting will also reduce nutrient loading to Lake Hayes by filtering water before it enters Mill Creek.
Land catchment management, such as reducing beef and sheep grazing, has also been identified as another way to reduce the nutrient loading to Lake Hayes from Mill Creek. Implementation of the access road will see Mill Creek fenced to prevent stock access.
Lauren Christie, General Manager Queenstown, said, “we are dedicated to embracing and enhancing the natural beauty of Waterfall Park and Ayrburn through the proposed access road and hotel. The revegetation is fundamental to the sustainability of the landscape and quality of the waterways and we want to ensure we get the best outcome for Mill Creek and in turn Lake Hayes through opportunities such as these.”
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