At first glance, it might look like just another suburban reserve with a makeover, but this new green hub in Pasadena is the result of a unique environmental project. Find out how this revitalised space is benefiting both the local people and wildlife.

Pasadena Biodiversity Corridor 1

In Adelaide’s inner southern suburb of Pasadena, the City of Mitcham took on a project to revitalise 2 tired, dusty reserves with little native vegetation, into a cooler and greener urban refuge for wildlife and the community to enjoy.

Coined a ‘biodiversity corridor’, this urban space is providing benefits for species and habitat.

Before we delve into the specifics, here’s the back-story about how these refuges work.

What is a biodiversity corridor?

Biodiversity, or wildlife corridors, connect otherwise isolated areas across the urban landscape, enabling wildlife to move freely between them, giving them access to a larger area for food and shelter.

These areas are connected through native vegetation, providing the ideal habitat for native animals to live and breed.

Biodiversity corridors can be huge expansive areas covering hundreds of kilometres and crossing various types of landscapes, or they can be small-scale local creek banks or reserves benefiting the local birds, bees and butterflies.

Rainbow lorikeet
The Pasadena Biodiversity Corridor provides the ideal habitat for birds like the rainbow lorikeets

Why are biodiversity corridors important?

Wildlife needs room to move. So much so, that it’s essential to their survival. They move around their natural habitat to find food and shelter, and seek protection from predators.

Connecting natural landscapes is an important strategy in protecting biodiversity as we face urban expansion and a changing climate.

It promotes greater genetic exchange between wildlife populations, making them more resilient as they encounter environmental stresses and change.

And the wildlife is loving Pasadena’s newest green hub – particularly our feathered friends, with hundreds of rainbow and musk lorikeets regularly flocking to the reserves.

How was the Pasadena Biodiversity Corridor created?

The Sierra Nevada and Grant Jacob reserves, located on opposite sides of Fiveash Drive in Pasadena, are now connected through newly planted native vegetation and an innovative stormwater harvesting scheme.

This scheme takes stormwater which previously flowed underground and redirects it above-ground through vegetated swales (shallow constructed creeks) with rocks to slow the flow, and reeds and sedges to clean the water.

Sierra Nevada Reserve before the project began - June 2021
Sierra Nevada Reserve after the project was completed - Sept 2022

How does stormwater benefit the reserves?

By allowing stormwater to flow above-ground through the swales in the reserve, it provides a chance for this water to benefit the environment before flowing out to sea.

The Grant Jacob Reserve, located across the road from Sierra Nevada Reserve, now has a large basin that holds stormwater before releasing it slowly to a dryland swale. Providing wildlife with vital access to water during the drier months.

The stormwater basin in Grant Jacob Reserve - Sept 2022

Stormwater is now also used to irrigate the reserves via underground trenches that distribute water throughout the reserve, allowing it to soak into the soil. This further promotes the growth of new and existing vegetation.

This means plants and trees grow better and faster, providing better amenity, canopy cover and cooling benefits for the nearby residents and people visiting the reserve.

The new playground at the Sierra Nevada Reserve

It’s not only the wildlife benefiting from this innovative project, the Sierra Nevada reserve is also now an amazing new community space with picnic seating and shelter, a new accessible walking path and the surrounding lush, grassed open space.

There’s also a wonderful new play space featuring new play equipment, log steppers and wooden sculptures, a timber tee pee to encourage imaginative play, and ample nature play opportunities throughout the natural, creek-like environment.

The City of Mitcham received one of our Water Sustainability Grants for the project, in addition to funding through the Australian Government’s Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program and the South Australian Government’s Open Space Grant Program.

Read more about our other Water Sustainability Grant recipients and projects.

Learn more about Adelaide’s water resources

Found this one interesting? Find out how groundwater is being replenished at Adelaide’s creeks and wetlands.

Like to learn more about metropolitan Adelaide’s most iconic river? Here’s everything you need to know about the River Torrens/Karrawirra Pari.

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