During December, 1991 the NSW Department of Water Resources commenced construction of an artificial wetland at the upstream end of Carcoar Dam near Blayney in central western NSW. The principal function of the wetland is to reduce nutrient inputs, especially phosphorus, from the Belubula River into Carcoar storage and consequently lower the incidence of blue-green algal blooms which occur most summers.
The wetland is a multi-faceted project involving substantial research and community involvement. Construction of the wetland weir and levees was completed during April, 1992. Stage one of the wetland planting program ran from October to December, 1992 with stage two scheduled for the same period in 1993. The wetland will not be operational until December, 1993. However, even at this early point in the project, significant experience has been gained in design, construction, planting and establishment of comprehensive community involvement programs for large constructed wetlands on the flood plain.
This paper outlines the background to the wetland, the design of the wetland system and its construction primarily as a nutrient removal mechanism in the Belubula River. The paper also outlines the direction of research undertaken and the role and nature of community involvement in various aspects of the project.