Construction and rehabilitation of wetlands
The rehabilitation and construction of wetlands and other treatment systems is undertaken for a wide range of reasons. Wetlands are often rehabilitated to return a system to its natural (or near-natural) state, to enhance opportunities for wildlife, or for recreational purposes. The construction of wetlands may occur for similar reasons e.g. replacing a previously removed catchment, pollution management, erosion control or water storage.
The first steps in rehabilitating and constructing wetlands are to determine the:
Identifying the values—or reasons why the wetland is important—is critical in developing the design. The Queensland Wetlands Program has developed a range of tools to help determine the best approach to the wetland rehabilitation or construction project.
Constructed wetlands are artificial systems designed to mimic certain conditions of natural wetlands. Like natural wetlands they have the potential to regulate levels of sediments, nutrients, metals and pathogens in water.
Constructed wetlands can be built for a variety of different purposes. Most are designed to treat stormwater or wastewater. Others can be designed to provide habitat and aesthetic values. A knowledge of wetland plants, soil and microbial life, and wetland processes is essential for building a wetland for any purpose.
Wetland construction requires a balanced approach between engineering, ecology, landscape design and natural resource management. In general, constructed wetlands are designed to use gravitational energy to move water. It is important to ensure that flow rates are not excessive, as high flows—especially during rainfall events—can stir up sediments and impede nutrient removal by destroying wetland vegetation. It may be necessary to incorporate design solutions to control flow rate. The key factors to water purification are the wetland plant communities and the amount of time the water spends within the wetland system. In general, the longer the water spends in contact with plants and the bottom of the wetland, the more effective the treatment.
The keys to water purification are the wetland plant communities and the amount of time the water spends within the wetland system. In general, the longer the water spends in contact with the plant roots and/or wetland substrate, the more effective the treatment.
Treatment and constructed wetlands
Find out more on the treatment systems page.
The Wetland Management Handbook is a useful resource, providing information and advice on planning, designing, constructing, management and maintenance of constructed wetlands.
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Last updated: 30 October 2017
This page should be cited as:
Construction and rehabilitation of wetlands, WetlandInfo 2014, Department of Environment and Science, Queensland, viewed 7 September 2018, .