Community breathing new life into Waterhen Lake, Oxenford

Photo source: Wetland Care Australia
Photo source: Wetland Care Australia


The northern community of the Gold Coast have been getting their hands dirty and feet wet with restoring Waterhen Lake in Oxenford.

The Coomera River Catchment Group was successful in gaining a successful Queensland State Government’s Everyone’s Environment grant worth $39,000 through the Gold Coast Catchment Association in 2014.

With the assistance of the City of Gold Coast, WetlandCare Australia, SEQ Catchments and the Griffith University Industry Affiliates Program, the funding has been used to restore Waterhen Lake.

Waterhen Lake is located within the Russel Hinze Wildlife Refuge, an area that hosts an upwards of fifty bird species, the Eastern Snake necked Turtle (Chelodina longicollis), the Firetail Gudgeon (Hypseleotris galii) and the Freshwater Floodplain Mussel (Velesunio ambiguss).

The overall aim of the project was to encourage the local community to become active in improving the health of the lake and the biodiversity of its surrounds. This was achieved through four community planting days, where a total of 2180 native species were planted. Over all four events there was a total of 47 volunteers that took part, many of these people attended all of the events.

In September a ‘What’s in your waterways’ workshop was held, and this event attracted 20 people who were educated about the local fauna of the area. This information session was successful in attracting locals that previously had not participated in the community planting days, which allowed for them to be informed of the project and how they could help.

With the 2180 natives species planted, there is now a more substantial riparian (along the creek side) vegetation buffer. A large number of the species heave been planted at one of the stormwater inlets, which had been identified through water quality monitoring as having poor water quality. As this vegetation becomes established it will assist in filtering the urban and storm water runoff entering the lake, which in turn will improve the water quality of the lake.

2000 Freshwater Floodplain Mussels (Velesunio ambiguss) were also introduced into the lake as a biological control method, with 5 oyster baskets containing 12 mussels distributed for monitoring purposes. These mussels are filter feeders and are able to filter bacteria and algae from the water column. They were introduced to the lake after a study from a Griffith University Industry Affiliates Program student determined that they would be suitable in assisting in the improvement of the water quality.

It is hoped that the framework from the Waterhen Lake project can be adopted for future projects across Gold Coast’s catchments.

For more information about this project please contact the City’s Catchment Management Unit: 07 5581 7005 /