Melbourne: A Living Laboratory for Biodiversity

Cities can be a living laboratory to illustrate how resilience challenges affect an entire urban system. They can also reveal how these challenges can addressed with cross-cutting and innovative solutions.

On the second full day of our Melbourne Network Exchange, Chief Resilience Officers and resilience teams from Boulder, Durban, New Orleans, Semarang, and Melbourne visited key sites in and around Melbourne to better understand how the city’s biodiversity challenges are affecting the city’s resilience and its strategy in the future. Learn more about and explore the sites that Network Exchange visited.

Western Water Treatment Plant 

Located in Werribee, the 10,500 hectare Western Treatment Plant is a world leader in technical and environmental innovation. It processes around half of Melbourne’s sewage and produces almost 40 billion litres of recycled water per year. The Western Treatment Plant provides a haven for tens of thousands of birds and encompasses a diverse and complex array of habitats, vegetation and wildlife. It is one of Australia’s most important wetlands for water birds, and is listed under the international Ramsar Convention.

Wyndham City Council

The Wyndham City Council is in the outer south-western suburbs of Melbourne between Melbourne and the regional city of Geelong. It has an area of 542 square kilometres (209 square miles) and features 27.4kilometres of coastline. Wyndham faces several biodiversity challenges as a result of a boom in population, significant residential development alongside fragile ecosystems, agricultural land and grasslands.

Brimbank City Council

The Brimbank City Council is between 10 and 20 kilometres west and northwest from the Melbourne city centre. The City has an area of 123 square kilometres (47.5 square miles). Brimbank City Council is a rapidly growing area with a number of residential, industrial and commercial developments. It incorporates one of the largest industrial areas in Melbourne and unfortunately has become one of the most depleted bioregions in Australia. Brimbank is developing projects and partnerships with local communities, government, industry and research bodies to increase the resilience and adaptive capacity of the area.

Banyule City Council

The City of Banyule is in the north-eastern suburbs of Melbourne. It has an area of 63 square kilometres (24.3 square miles) and lies between seven and 21 kilometres from central Melbourne. The Yarra River runs along the City’s south border while the west is defined by the Darebin Creek. Banyule City Council won an award in 2014 for Banyule Community Stormwater Harvesting Project and is one of the largest stormwater harvesting networks in Melbourne. The City of Banyule is home to a wide range of native animals largely due to the indigenous vegetation in bushland reserves and wildlife corridors.