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The Shoalhaven on the NSW south coast is home to an amazing variety of birds and is a mecca for birdwatchers.
BirdLife Shoalhaven promotes a better understanding of our birds and works tirelessly to ensure their survival.

Bherwerre Wetland

Click to magnify image and click again to reduce The Bherwerre Wetland is an area of land in Sanctuary Point, east of Larmer Avenue. Larmer Avenue is regarded as the "gateway" to Sanctuary Point. It is a low lying stretch of road with the Little Athletics ground to the west, and many hectares of formerly "vacant" land to the East.

Many decades ago a previous owner excavated some channels in the middle of the area, branching off from the Cockrow Creek. These channels still exist, though they are less distinct than when they were originally cut, due to natural revegetation and erosion. Being highly flood-prone has ruled-out this area's suitability for buildings or playing fields. In addition there are concerns about the presence of acid-sulphate soils subsequent to disturbance of the natural ground in recent years.

In 2013 the Shoalhaven City Council acquired the land, and asked the community about what should be done with it. In February 2014, the Basin Villages Forum (CCB) hosted a special presentation by Council staff, specifically on this land; the question being "What would the local community like to see done with this land?" The use of the land that was proposed (and supported by a strong spirit of consensus) by attendees at the meeting, was that the area be designated as an "official wetland reserve". There is a Sanctuary Point foreshore walking track that currently exists from the Wool Lane to John Williams Reserve - heavily used by locals and visitors and provides an excellent opportunity for passive recreation by a wide range of people. The Forum proposed that this track be extended right along foreshore land to meet the Larmer Ave shared pathway, and link into the wetland.

Click to magnify image and click again to reduce There is the potential for board walks and bird hides; and management of the area as a visitor destination in the Bay and Basin area, as well as providing a recreational and educational opportunity for the community.

Ideally there would be network of paths that would be accessible by disabled / wheelchair-dependent people. It is likely that community volunteers would be interested in helping restore and maintain the proposed reserve, as is already done with SCC's Bushcare and Parkcare programs.

Under the SCC's controversial "Biobanking" policy, the conservation values of the Larmer Avenue land have been recognised and a "credit" value placed upon them. These credits can be purchased by developers for other projects, with the money from that purchase used to finance infrastructure on the land which is now known as the Bherwerre Wetland (Bherwerre being the local indigenous name for St Georges Basin).

In November 2019 three rotating signs each comprising three artworks depicting birds were erected in the north-west corner of Bherwerre Wetland and formalized in a opening ceremony attended by the artist (Vanessa Barbay), members of Jervis Bay and Basin Arts, local environmentalists, many BirdLife Shoalhaven members, students from Vincentia High School, the Shoalhaven Mayor Amanda Finley, members of the local aboriginal community, and members of the local men's shed, all of whom provided input into the project.

Considerable progress has been made but conservation efforts continue and BLS will update on further progress.

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