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Home / Groups / North of the river / Baigup Wetland Interest Group

Baigup Wetland Interest Group

What is Baigup Wetland?

primarylakebaiguplee2013 1

Baigup Wetland is a varied and complex site in terms of its history, current state and potential. Approximately 1 kilometre in length, 200 metres wide and about 15 hectares in total, it lies along the Swan River below Stone Street on the Maylands/Bayswater border.

Access is via a joint use walkway/cycle path running from the Kelvin Street/Swan View Terrace junction in Maylands (limited street parking only) to A.P. Hinds Reserve (enter from car park at the end of Milne Street). The dual purpose path runs under Garratt Road Bridge and right through the reserve parallel to the river.

Baigup is part of Bush Forever Site No. 313, which includes both sides of the river from the east end of Maylands Peninsula to Garratt Road Bridge. It is also part of Precinct 9 (Ascot to Guilford) in the Swan Canning Riverpark. 

History and resultant Environmental Issues


The marshy river flats that once comprised most of the site were used by Nyungar who created and managed a mosaic of different vegetation types and camped seasonally on the higher ground behind what is now the reserve. After Europeans took the land, the dryer parts were used to pasture cattle and goats and, from the late 1800s until at least the 1930s, some sections were cultivated by Chinese market gardeners who lived in Mary Street (now Stone Street) above the reserve.

As late as the 1950s, home owners in Stone Street maintained private vegetable gardens, fruit trees and goat pastures on the river flats and market gardening continued beside Garratt Road until the second bridge was built to create a dual road across the river.

garratt rd bridge from kelvin st end of baigup p. lee 2012Baigup wetland is unusual along this stretch of the Swan in that it has never been used as an official landfill site. Nevertheless, intensive clearing and modification for pasture and gardens meant that much of the natural vegetation on the landward side of the reserve was replaced during the 20th century by dense weedy growth, including Willow and Poplar trees, Arum Lilies, Bulrushes, Castor Oil Bushes and Pampas Grass, along with various introduced grasses, ground covers and other smaller weeds when formal cultivation ceased. Ongoing attempts to manage these weeds are being made by the City of Bayswater with the support of Baigup Wetland Interest Group.

Today, two constructed lakes attract a wide range of birds, with over 70 species recorded in the last three years. The Primary Lake to the east was excavated in 2000 in an extensive marshy area, deepening and widening the existing swamp. Swan Lake Main Drain runs through this lake to the river.

An entirely constructed lake was created at the west end in 2001 in an area filled predominantly with Typha orientalis (bulrushes). During the mid 2000s, a serious Acid Sulphate Soils event occurred following the disturbance of the naturally Potential Acid Sulphate Soils during lake construction.

This compounded problems caused both by the installation of a gas pipeline through the reserve in the late 1980s and the retention of the associated access track for use as a shared use walk way/cycle path. Extensive acid scalds associated with dead or struggling Melaleuca rhaphiophylla (Freshwater Paperbarks) can be seen in the eastern section on the landward side of the path.

This high use recreational path seriously interferes with the natural interchange of river water and water from a series of fresh water springs along the back of the reserve on the floodplain at Baigup. Although eleven culverts under the path allow limited interchange in some locations, no serious study of their functionality seems to have occurred since a student investigation of the original 10 culverts in 1991. Saline river water is increasingly inundating some areas on the river side of the path creating, in effect, two different types of wetland: estuarine marshlands and swamps along the river and fresh water wetlands on the landward side of the path.

Vegetation and Structure

river flats baigup p. lee 2013

Using information provided in previous reports, a 2010 Department of Water Management Plan describes the native vegetation at Baigup as follows:

"The naturally low-lying floodplains would have originally supported sedgelands such as the wide expanse of Juncus kraussii present in the reserve’s east. The permanently wet areas would have supported Melaleuca rhaphiophylla woodland with an understory of sedges including Lepidosperma tetraquetrum, Baumea juncea, B. articulata, B. preissii, B. vaginalis, B. rubiginosa and Schoenoplectus validus.

The area closer to the river at either end of the reserve, where the floodplain narrows, would have supported a taller Eucalyptus rudis community, while the reserve’s upland areas would have supported Banksia-Marri woodland". Native vegetation today "consists of Fringing Woodland of E. rudis and M. rhaphiophylla with localised occurrences of Low Open Forest of Casuarina obesa and M. cuticularis".

There is a "a mixture of estuarine and freshwater swamp communities, which are becoming rare along the Swan River. The tidal components of the wetlands consist largely of shore rush (Juncus kraussii) sedgelands, with a fringe of swamp sheoak (Casuarina obesa) along the river’s edge. In places there are belts of marsh club rush (Bolboschoenus caldwellii) and stands of freshwater paperbark (Melaleuca rhaphiophylla)" (Randall, N & Storer, T 2010, Baigup Reserve remediation and management plan, final report, Prepared by Ecoscape (Australia) Pty Ltd for the Department of Water,Western Australia.)

Aims and Objectives


Baigup Wetland Interest Group began as a virtual community network of people who care about our remnant environment. Since 2012, our aim is to see Baigup Wetland protected and preserved into the future as a valuable natural resource for wildlife, for the health of the Swan River, and for human recreation, wellbeing and education.

Our major objective is to encourage community interest in Baigup by building awareness of its history, natural assets, and challenges through a program of community activities and education. An electronic newsletter is issued four times a year (see below for past copies and a registration button).

Weeding days are held several times a year to support the work of City of Bayswater’s Department of Sustainable Environment and members work closely with the City on matters such as habitat preservation for birds, damage to infrastructure, changes in water regimes, algal blooms, new weed infestations, etc. We also liaise with other government and non government agencies responsible for protecting, restoring and preserving Baigup Wetland.

For more information:


Baigup News  #3.
Second newsletter
Check out our inaugural newsletter.



Contact us:

Penny Lee, Coordinator: baigup@iinet.net.au

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