Technical Tours

Technical tours will include visits to: a catchment-scale urban stormwater retrofit project to restore urban stream health, catchment management efforts in the Yarra Valley winery region, fishways in and around scenic coastal areas and inner Melbourne, and a waterbird breeding ground and wastewater reuse facility.

Download Field Tours Pick up and Drop off Locations and Times

Tour 1 – Fishways, Ferry and Fish and Chips – a tour of fishways around Port Phillip bay (full day tour):

The tour will include visits to rock-ramp, vertical-slot and dual fishways. Fishways on the Werribee and Barwon rivers will be visited, followed by lunch in the scenic coastal town of Queenscliff. A ferry ride will deliver participants to the other side of Port Phillip Bay, and the tour will proceed to the fishways on the Patterson River and on the Werribee in inner Melbourne. Tour leader Matthew Jones will discuss the endemic fish which use these passages, and the operation of the structures

Pictured: The construction of the Weribee Fishway

Tour 2 – Little Stringy Bark Creek (full day tour):

The Little Stringybark Creek (LSC) Project is a world-first attempt to restore an urban stream by retrofitting the way stormwater is managed in the catchment.  The project has seen the installation of hundreds of stormwater management systems (including raingardens, infiltration systems and stormwater harvesting systems) around the catchment, with the aim of returning a more natural flow and water quality regime.  In the tour we will look at the systems installed, discussing lessons from their installation, and also look at the state of the stream channel. Tim Fletcher, Darren Bos and Chris Walsh will also discuss barriers to the stream’s restoration, including its existing geomorphic degradation.

Pictured: Little Stringybark Creek Stormwater Management System


Tour 3 – Yarra valley catchment management (full day tour):

Click here to download Yarra Valley Field Trip Handout

The Yarra River flows through Melbourne, but its catchment provides abundant examples of water management that involve environmental aspects of water.  Issues we will explore are as follows:

  • Fish passage and changes to the hydraulics of the Yarra River
  • Environmental water and farm dams (the example of the wine industry)
  • Water yield, logging and fire (the famous Corranderk experimental catchments) and implications for the river
  • Closed catchments – pristine streams
Pictured: The joys of environmental flows in the Yarra valley catchment

Tour 4 – Bird watching, Wastewater treatment and Reuse (half day tour):

Melbourne’s Western Treatment Plant is rather different from many around the world. For starters, it is listed under the Ramsar Convention because its treatment lagoons, old treatment ponds, natural wetlands, coastal marsh, and networks of drains provide important habitat for waterbirds and other aquatic creatures. For example, the site has been observed to support in the order of 20,000 pink-eared ducks, with flocks in excess of 10,000 not being uncommon.

Andrew Hamilton, an expert on the birdlife of the western treatment plant, will lead a tour of the plant, discussing the ecology of the area and the unique features of the Western Treatment Plant that differentiate it from wastewater treatment plants around the world.

A section of a flock of pink-eared ducks (Malacorhynchus membranaceus) at a waste stabilisation pond at the Western Treatment Plant.