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Oaklands Wetland and Education Centre

Oaklands Wetland is a sensitive and deeply valued wetland which plays a variety of important roles.

The wetland is located in Oaklands Wetland and Reserve at 237-265 Oaklands Road in Oaklands Park; adjacent to the Warradale Army Barracks and across the road from the Marion Outdoor Pool.

The Oaklands Wetland and Reserve is also home to the Oaklands Education Centre. The centre which is on the western side of the reserve, was built in collaboration with Flinders University to facilitate and promote environmental studies. Schools at all levels are encouraged to book the facility for studies related to the environment.

Oaklands Wetland Educational Workshops - Flinders University

Designed for high school students and aligned with the SACE curriculum, Flinders University has created various educational modules where students are able to participate in water-related STEM activities - topics included are groundwater, environmental health and ecology.

Students get first-hand experience of practical activities such as conducting a theoretical risk assessment to see whether wetland water is safe for its intended use. The activities will be of particular use to the new science as a human endeavour strand of the SACE curriculum.

There will also be unique opportunities to have your class led, in conjunction with your teacher, by a PhD researcher from Flinders University.

This not only allows expert scientific guidance but enables students to see and discuss potential future tertiary education and career pathways in STEM.

For more information in regards to booking a Flinders University student led workshop, please contact us:

Green Adelaide Education

Oakland Estate Reserve

It is a cherished open space still in the early years of development, where our community directly connects with nature. It is home to a diversity of wildlife including birds, aquatic life and protected species including the Grey-headed Flying-fox.

Importantly, the key purpose of the wetland itself is to clean and supply precious water to many of our parks. It is a ‘water farm’ and once fully operational it will help provide the community with green open spaces.

Soak up some nature

Oaklands Wetland is home to many different species of animals including parrots, ducks, cockatoos and wader birds such as spoonbills, ibis and gulls. Fish and frogs live in the wetland, plus many different types of insects like dragonflies and mayflies.

Majestic, old river red gums (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) and 85,000 new plants play an important role creating habitat for our wildlife.

There are many things to enjoy at Oaklands Wetland, such as:

  • Walk, run or cycle along the paths.
  • Cross the stepping stones in front of the wetland weir.
  • Sit on one of the several huge logs alongside Sturt Creek.
  • Volunteer with the Friends of Sturt River Landcare to plant and care for native plants.
  • Watch or photograph native birds foraging in the wetland
  • Relax with a picnic or BBQ.
  • Learn how the wetland works by booking a tour.
Oaklands Wetland Photo1

Cleaning water naturally – how the wetland works

When fully operational the wetland can capture, clean and store up to 400 million litres of stormwater each year.

Water is cleaned as it moves slowly through a series of ponds, which each use natural processes in various ways to clean the water.

To function properly, the wetland needs calm water, healthy plants and native animals to all play their part.

Oaklands Wetland - how it works

Oaklands Wetland can capture, clean and store up to 400 million litres of stormwater each year, when fully operational.

The process begins when water is pumped into a gross pollutant trap from the Sturt River. The trap removes stones, gravels, litter and organic matter from the water before it flows into the wetland’s inlet pond.

Water is then cleaned as it moves slowly through a series of ponds, which each use natural processes in various ways to clean the water.

Sedimentation is a natural process where particles settle to the bottom of the wetland. Filtration is where plants naturally trap pollutants and excess nutrients.

It takes three days for the water to move through the wetland, where it can be injected into aquifers almost 100m below ground. From there, an 11.5km long distribution network will supply water to 31 reserves and other open public spaces for irrigation use.

What the wetland needs to work
  • Calm water The water needs to be calm for the particles to settle. We carefully manage how water flows through the wetland.
  • Healthy plants The plants are the filters of the wetland and we need them to grow and spread.
  • Native animals Native fish and other animals feed off the insects and balance the ecosystem. Pest species such as carp create muddy water. The City of Marion removes pest species.

Oaklands Wetland is a healthy wetland and has a low number of mosquitoes.

Levels of mosquitoes are regularly monitored at the site by Council in conjunction with the University of South Australia and the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board.

Looking after our ducks

Here at Marion we let ducks and water birds find their own food. Please enjoy watching ducks and water birds while allowing them to find their own food.

Many of us have often enjoyed feeding wildlife such as ducks. It’s been a popular way to get up close with nature, entertain the kids or just to soak up some quiet time. However, did you know it is not healthy for the ducks to be fed.

Why we shouldn't feed ducks and birds?

We now know that feeding wildlife can be harmful to them because:

  • Bread is unhealthy for birds as it can cause poor nutrition and make them sick.
  • It encourages unnatural and aggressive behaviour, and favours non-native species.
  • It may contribute to overpopulation and water quality problems overtime.

Although there are other foods such as pellets, peas and grapes which they can eat, ducks can live longer and healthier lives by eating aquatic plants, seeds, grasses and insects found naturally.

We encourage the public to enjoy wildlife in other ways, such as;

  • Watch the ducks forage naturally.
  • Go for a walk along the paths.
  • Sit quietly on a bench and enjoy the view.

For more information, visit the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources Feeding Wildlife.

So we ask you “Please don't feed ducks.”

Watch this video which explains why feeding ducks is bad for them. Thanks to Tea Tree Gully Council for letting us share this video.

Carp management

European carp (Cyprinus carpio) is a pest that adversely affects the health of our rivers and wetlands. It was first introduced to Australian waterways more than 100 years ago and has since established in every state except the Northern Territory. The following link (includes a video) provides fantastic information on why we remove Carp from Oaklands Wetland

How our community cares

Our community values the wetland, its wildlife and the green open spaces which the wetland can support. Visitors to the wetland show they care by:

  • Keeping dogs on leads and sticking to the designated areas
  • Allowing ducks and water birds find their own food - feeding them can make them sick and cause aggression
  • Leaving model boating for elsewhere
  • Leaving fishing for elsewhere
  • Supporting the Friends of Sturt River Landcare

Wetland tours and self-guided walks

Visitors can learn how the wetland functions, including its pumping infrastructure, electrical control equipment and the aquifer injection and extraction process.

The tours allow people to appreciate the extent and complexity of its infrastructure. It is already proving to be an important site for environmental education. The wetland is also being used for scientific research by Flinders University and Adelaide University.

For information about wetland tours, contact:

Glynn Ricketts
Water Resources Coordinator

If you unable to visit the site, please click on the linkbelow for a virtual tour of the Wetland

Download the species list below and see how many you can spot aroundthe Oaklands Wetland

Public safety at Oaklands Wetland

A valued feature of Oaklands Wetland is the public's close interaction with the wetland and the aquatic life. The open water areas are a particular feature which give good water views and are a component of all stormwater treatment wetlands.

The majority of the wetland is shallow (less than 300mm) with extensive water plants. The open ponds are deeper (up to 1.7m) and don’t have emergent vegetation.

Designed for public safety

Public safety is very important and the wetland has a number of design features to ensure this and support adult supervision of children. These include:

  • At the water’s edge there is a minimum two and a half metre wide very mild sloped buffer zone before any deeper ponds. This extends to 250mm depth and then the batters increase in slope down to the deeper pools. Even 1 vertical to 3 horizontal slopes are quite trafficable.
  • The complete perimeter of the wetland is covered with mass planting that will discourage entry. The wetland edges are designed and constructed in accordance with Australian artificial water feature design guidelines.
  • Around the formal path and edge there is a 100mm high kerb which provides a physical barrier to the wetland for prams and the like.
  • The majority of bridge structures are low and over shallow water to allow close interaction with the wetland and its wildlife. Where there is a vertical drop of more than one metre a handrail is provided for safety.

All of these design elements meet the requirements of Australian Standards for design of such systems.

Council has independently verified this through their own risk assessment conducted by an external consultant. However, as with all areas of open space, it is important that children are supervised at all times.

Oaklands Wetland and Reserve master plan

The Oaklands Wetland and Reserve master plan includes the wetland, adventure play space, biodiversity corridor and recreation plaza.

Construction to upgrade the recreation plaza began in October 2014.

LGA Awareness Campaign video

This ‘behind the scenes’ YouTube video gives a unique insight into the recently unveiled $9 million Oaklands Wetland.

It also highlights the work done by our staff to build the award-winning wetland.

The special feature is part of a state-wide campaign to profile the role of councils and career opportunities in local government. Find out more at the Careers in Council website.

2020 Stormwater Excellence Awards

The Excellence Awards, hosted annually by Stormwater Association, South Australia, encourages, recognises, promotes and celebrates excellence in the innovation, development, completion and management of stormwater projects and the people involved.

The City of Marion with our partners Flinders University won the Excellence in Research and Innovation category for 2020. Watch the award video by clicking the on the link below