Beaconsfield Nature Conservation Reserve
Our community is so fortunate to have the best of both worlds – growth, infrastructure and convenient services, yet on our doorstep is the pristine Beaconsfield Nature Conservation Reserve (Beaconsfield Reservoir).
On O’Neil Road is the Beaconsfield Reservoir and Nature Conservation Reserve, a beautiful pristine reserve in the middle of the Casey Cardinia growth corridor.
The reserve is Crown land and the Cardinia Environment Coalition (CEC) is the Committee of Management of the reserve while Melbourne Water are the owners and managers of the dam.
Having been built in 1918 to distribute drinking water and never being open to the public has created what is now one of our most pristine nature reserves. Access to the site remains restricted and is managed by the CEC as a conservation reserve. It was decommissioned in 1988 when Cardinia Reservoir was connected.
In 2005, the state government gazetted the 172-hectares surrounding the reservoir be set aside as the Beaconsfield Nature Conservation Reserve (BNCR) to help conserve species of plants and animals that may be rare or endangered, contain critical habitat, or hold conservation significance. The BNCR includes a variety of vegetation listed as endangered, vulnerable, and depleted in Victoria’s east.
The reserve is regularly visited by school groups and ecologists who study the flora and fauna. Melbourne Water has identified the Dam to have deficiencies associated with the stability of the dam wall and a lack of safety features to prevent internal erosion (piping) failure. There is now a risk that the dam wall could fail and housing estates in Officer could flood as a result. Melbourne Water has developed a risk mitigation project in response to keep Officer safe. They will be reducing the amount of water in the dam and reducing the height of the wall to stabilise it.
Melbourne Water has conducted much research over the past few years to determine the best way forward for the sustainability of the dam, the local ecology and residents. A slow drawdown of the water level is occurring and will take three years to reduce it from 98.85m AHD to 94.0m AHD. This will allow the vegetation around the edge of the reservoir to migrate with the changing waterline which will minimise the impact on the environment.
Recently there has been some confusing misinformation being made about the Reserve. This includes a claim that the reduction in water quantity will affect fire fighting capability.
The CFA have corrected this misinformation to say that approved fire fighting water pick up points are Cardinia Reservoir, Aura Vale or Lysterfield Lake. The CFA and Melbourne Water say that if additional water is required Beaconsfield Reservoir could still be used.
The Reserve will in time be able to cater for increased public access once appropriate infrastructure is created to ensure safe access.
For more on this and any other matter please contact me on 7501 8688 or mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
I wish all readers a wonderful Christmas and safe and happy new year.
Michael Galea MP