Glenbrook Lagoon upgrades make a welcome home for turtles

Upgrades to stormwater basins around Glenbrook Lagoon are now complete, including ‘homes’ for turtles.

The eastern stormwater basin was the last to be upgraded late last year, after the lagoon water levels dropped enough for council’s contractors to reshape the basin and introduce layers of sand, gravel and plants that will help purify stormwater before it flows to the lagoon.

Eastern long-necked turtles can be found at Glenbrook Lagoon. Photo: R. Spencer.

Eastern long-necked turtles can be found at Glenbrook Lagoon. Photo: R. Spencer.

The basins, which are located at three points around the lagoon, are designed to collect stormwater, capture rubbish and sediment, and filter pollutants before slowly releasing cleaner water to the lagoon.

The basins form part of a series of linked stormwater treatments that start with gross pollutant traps at the inlets, followed by biofilters made from layers of sand, gravel and plants, and a small wetland in the eastern basin to further improve water quality and provide habitat for wildlife such as turtles and frogs.

Eastern long-necked turtles can be found at Glenbrook Lagoon.

Eastern long-necked turtles can be found at Glenbrook Lagoon.

The newly created wetland area offers frog breeding habitat and a sandy beach area for turtles to nest in, complete with basking and perching logs.

Council is trying to establish and maintain turtle habitat at Glenbrook Lagoon to help protect and enhance turtle breeding areas. While the Eastern long-necked turtles are currently a common species throughout the Blue Mountains, they are faced with a rapidly ageing population due to predation of nests by foxes and high rates of road kill in urban areas.

Surveys have found no turtles under 10-years-old at Glenbrook Lagoon, reflecting trends around Australia, with habitat loss, nest predation and high juvenile mortality rates meaning that very few baby turtles are surviving to breeding age.

“Local residents nearby have expressed how happy they are with what we have created,” said Blue Mountains mayor Mark Greenhill.  “It is very satisfying to have all the basins done now and the prospect of improving water quality in the lagoon.

“Anything we can do to protect or enhance turtle breeding habitats will help Eastern long-necked Turtles have a future.”

Council is also looking at other ways to provide habitat for turtles at Glenbrook Lagoon, including using innovative “floating wetland” technology to outfox the foxes and protect turtle nests from predation.