Designs

Rouse Hill Landscape Restoration

By AECOM

  • Rouse Hill Landscape Restoration

    Rouse Hill Landscape Restoration

About the project

The aim was to restore plant associations characteristic of the two endangered ecological communities that inhabited the site prior to Euorpean Settlement: Cumberland Plain Woodland and River-Flat Eucalypt Forest.
AECOM’s Design + Planning practice are behind the riparian restoration of 16 hectares of stormwater infrastructure in the Rouse Hill Development Area in Sydney’s northwest growth sector. Landscape restoration works include bushland reconstruction and regeneration to all areas within the 1-in-100-year flood zone, incorporating channel reconstruction, detention basins, and bushland remnants. Most of the works area has been under agricultural management since the early 1800s, and has a very high weed seed load.

All plant material used is of local provenance, with a total of 1.7 million plants installed, including some 50 species.

Our team of environmental specialists guided the design process for detention basins and new watercourses to accommodate floodwaters and fully-structured natural communities, including full ground, shrub, and mid-stratum layers and canopy. New site soil stripping and reinstatement processes were developed for the project to conserve important existing soil landscape properties and buffer the works from chemically hostile sub-soils. Only site soil was used throughout the project.

Some 15 months into the plant establishment period, the restoration works are exhibiting substantial species diversity and excellent plant cover, as well as substantial germination from the first year of seed drop. Restoration is on track to create a low-maintenance, relatively self-sustaining, and diverse plant community within what will be a highly urbanised setting.

Additionally, a one-hectare experimental plot has been established to monitor the direct seeding of a select suite of native grasses, to assess the potential of the process to provide a simple and low-cost alternative to initial site stabilisation, weed suppression and conventional mass planting landscape restoration approaches. Results so far are encouraging, with several species exhibiting excellent plant cover, germination of offspring and weed suppression characteristics. The approach has the potential to facilitate a new low-cost, longer-term approach to broad acre landscape restoration, in lieu of current mass planting practices. The results of the experiment are being documented and will be submitted for publication within scientific literature.

AILA NSW Award for Land Management in Land Management, 2009
AILA National Landscape Architecture Award of Excellence in Land Management, 2010