Blue Lagoon Reserve is an important ephemeral wetland and dune system, located in an urban environment at Dodges Ferry. It is wholly owned and managed by the Sorell Council.
We’ve been involved at Blue Lagoon for many years, working with Sorell School and Dodges Ferry School.
It’s a delight to see the changes as the lagoon habit restores – water in the lagoon, frogs and birds singing, water birds thriving. Since 2007 we have worked with contractors, volunteers and Sorell Council to cut pine trees and remove boneseed and cumbungi that had choked the lagoon. In fact the pine trees had soaked up much of the water, leaving the lagoon dry in all but the wettest years. People used to hoon around on the wetland and dump garden waste there.
Since opening up the roadside view of the lagoon, people can enjoy and appreciate what a special place it is.
In April 2017, we celebrated Frogs in the Field.
SBLC, Sorell School Landcare and Sorell Council have jointly worked to remove weeds and undertake some revegetation at the lagoon for a number of years. Sorell School Landcare developed a management plan to help guide these works and in 2007 SBLC’s Sally Johns prepared a detailed action plan for the area.
In 2007, with an Envirofund grant from the Australian Government and support from Sorell Council, work to restore and rehabilitate the wetland area began to:
- remove identified mature Pine trees
- revegetate with appropriate local native species
- purchase equipment for water quality monitoring
- run field days to help educate local people about the lagoon and its environmental values
- development a Management Plan to guide the group and Sorell Council in joint strategic management of the Lagoon.
In earlier times, settlers cleared most of the native vegetation near Blue Lagoon and used the area for farming and an orchard. A wind break of Pinus radiata was planted and the water used for irrigating the fruit trees. Over time the pines have self seeded and created a dense forest.
In the 1950s the Lagoon was a popular place for holiday makers. The Lagoon held water permanently and was up to waist deep in places. Children used small water craft in the Lagoon and it also contained small fish.
More recently the urban development in Dodges Ferry lead Sorell Council to alter the natural drainage of the Lagoon both within the Lagoons wider catchment area and in the outlet to Frederick Henry Bay.
Reduced rainfall since the 1990s impacted heavily on the lagoon, with water held in the Lagoon only for short periods of time and usually only about ankle deep (20-30cm). Four wheel drive vehicle owners ‘hooned’ in the wetland and locals and shack owners dumped garden waste.
Despite the general degradation of Blue Lagoon over time, the wetland was still an important habitat for wildlife (particularly frogs), invertebrates and native flora. Sea birds nesting on the nearby Spectacle Islands State Nature Reserve use the Lagoon for water and preening.
In 2007 Sorell Council recognised the value to the community of the Lagoon and obtained an Australian Government funded Green Corps team, with community support, to commence some remedial works and through this process recognised that a strategic management plan was required.
This reflected the community’s concern for the Lagoon’s ongoing environmental well-being.
SBLC’s 2007 acton plan for Blue Lagoon advocated the rehabilitation of the wetland and lead to remedial works to re-establshed a self sustaining and healthy ecosystem within an urban environment. The success of this plan required the joint commitment between Sorell Council, relevant stakeholders and the community.