In 1985 the Darwin City Council dug a network of drains on the 301 hectare Kulaluk conservation area in suburban Darwin, granted to Larrakia people and associated Aborigines in 1979. The drains allowed sea water to flow at high tide into the freshwater wetlands, a city haven for water birds and other wildlife beside the busy traffic of Dick Ward Drive that intersects the lease. As a result of the salt water intrusion several hectares previously vegetated by native reeds and grasses on the floodplain were transformed into tidal mudflats and mangroves. However, much of the wetland remains. This video made by Darwin anthropologist Dr Bill Day shows how the damage done by the drains could easily be reversed, restoring the “old rice fields” on the Kulaluk lease to a wetland easily accessible to birdwatchers, supervised by the traditional owners. At present in 2015 the whole area is threatened by a caveat signed over to Gwelo Investments for a marina and canal housing. This video is Part Seven of a series of videos documenting the hidden wonders of the Kulaluk lease in suburban Darwin.
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