State of wetland is a disappointment
IN the early 1960s while in my early teens, Melvista Swamp – now known as Mason's Gardens – was a popular place for neighbourhood youngsters to explore.
The occasional snakeskin or long-necked tortoise would excite us as we pushed our way through dense reeds or climbed the trees growing in the middle of the wetland.
When I was given my first microscope as a birthday present, water samples from this site showed the diversity of the site's aquatic life.
Consequently, I spent most of my subsequent years as an environmental scientist specialising in wetland management.
On a recent visit, therefore, I was greatly disappointed to see that the main wetland area is little more than a weed-filled, mud hole.
Most of the plants are exotic weeds, with European willows the most common tree.
The new concrete-lined wetland-created upslope of the original wetland is moderately attractive, but lacks diversity; is full of introduced fish and surrounded by signs that ban children from exploring and enjoying this artificial environment.
The City of Nedlands needs to implement a plan that will, over time, replace the weeds and non-native plants with local species, while deepening the wetland by an extra halfmetre or so to increase its water volume and natural biodiversity.
As pretty as the whole garden area may appear to the casual observer, the biggest losers are the children of the Nedlands/Dalkeith area who have lost an opportunity to “nature play” – to explore and enjoy the natural environment so that they can understand the diversity of the world we live in.
Bernie Masters, Peppermint Grove Beach,
formerly of Dalkeith.