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Reimagining Bungambrawatha Creek

Monday 27 June 2022
AlburyCity looks at ways Bungambrawatha Creek might be returned to a more natural state, whilst continuing to ensure it acts effectively as a flood mitigation measure.

June 27 2022

Reimagining Bungambrawatha Creek

Bungambrawatha Creek is an important natural asset that links the hilly ranges in the north of our city with the Murray River.

During the development of the Murray River Experience and Botanic Gardens Master Plans, the community expressed a desire to look at ways the creek might be returned to a more natural state, whilst continuing to ensure it acts effectively as a flood mitigation measure.

AlburyCity has engaged Alluvium Consulting, a leader in the provision of catchment and river and analysis advice, to investigate the constraints and opportunities of this important corridor.

The consultants will undertake an assessment of the natural and semi-natural areas of the upper sections of Bungambrawatha Creek, and provide a report outlining key actions to better manage the overall health of the catchment, with a goal to improve the biodiversity values of the creek line, and control key issues such as weed infestation and erosion.

They will also provide a feasibility assessment for the naturalisation of the lower sections of the creek within the vicinity the Albury CBD and our riverside parkland areas, to better understand some of the challenges of naturalisation including area constraints, flooding, erosion, land tenure and vegetation.

Naturalisation can involve many different things ranging from increasing the roughness of the channel bed with some riparian planting, all the way through to returning modified concrete or channelised drains back into something reminiscent of a natural waterway. However the exact design needs to respond to the constraints of urban areas, including close proximity of dwellings and other buildings, footpaths, and services infrastructure like water, sewer and power. Designs also need to allow for large volumes of water moving much faster than would be expected in a natural stream.

AlburyCity CEO Frank Zaknich said the aim of the report is to understand what might be required to enhance the space, whilst continuing to ensure the community is protected during periods of heavy rain.

"Naturalisation could improve the overall look of the creek and provide opportunities for recreation, and may also provide an environmentally friendly space for local habitat," said Mr Zaknich.

"Protection for our community during rain events is a key factor that the consultants will take into consideration when investigating options."

Alluvium Project Manager Ben Walker said naturalisation could take a variety of forms and needs to be responsive to what the community wants to see and the site constraints and opportunities.

“There is not likely to be any one outcome for naturalisation of Bungambrawatha Creek. In less space constrained areas there may be opportunities to remove the concrete, widen the channel and create something that looks like a naturally occurring creek. In more confined sections it may be as little as creating ponding over the concrete and the introduction of some rocks and vegetation to soften the appearance."

“We are always strongly driven to apply principles of biophilic design and we see these projects as key opportunities to improve the environment, but also as a means to contribute to physical and mental wellbeing for the local community and cultural engagement. At the most basic level this could be opportunities to encourage recreation and storytelling around the creek with use of things such as pathways or boardwalks, but thinking about how we can use the space to drive broader health benefits and social cohesion outcomes is key to our thinking,” Mr Walker said.

Council would like to hear from the community about their experiences with Bungambrawatha Creek, and what they would like to see it look like in the future.

Community members can have their say on the AlburyCity website, or attend a drop in conversation session:

  • Wednesday 29 June 2022: 3pm - 5pm at Pioneer Park, Lavington
  • Friday 1 July 2022: 3pm - 5pm at Gertrude Colquhoun Park, Albury