MANLY DAM NEWS Update May 2002
Recent Events
National Heritage listing of the Manly Dam Reserve has been confirmed but with some previously listed areas such as  the Ardel site omitted and other areas added.
The year 2001 spawning of the ancient Climbing Galaxias fish was very successful.
The Duffy’s Forest vegetation community and Red Crowned Toadlet were re-listed under the Threatened Species Conservation Act.
Blue green algae closed the dam to swimming on several occasions.
Sunnyfield proposed plans for buildings on a new site to the north of the Allambie Special School.These have not proceeded but large workshop buildings have been approved at the rear of the existing Sunnyfield site.
Warringah Council has not accepted its consultantants recommendation that McLeod House be added to the heritage list. This might result in its demolition and replacement with a much more dense development.

Mermaid Pool
Earlier this year Malcolm Fisher proposed we adopt the Mermaid Pool, on Manly Creek about 400m downstream of the Manly Dam wall, as a project for bush regeneration, general cleanup, water testing, etc. This has received tremendous public support and is progressing well. So far Warringah Council has given only limited support but they are considering funding a Master Plan of the area.
There have been two clean-up days at the Mermaid Pool so far. Ian Kiernan from Clean-up Australia visited the site recently with local member David Barr and a team of police divers. Congratulations to Mal and all the helpers.

Last year the sale of housing blocks at Ardel, commenced with small blocks advertised for $425,000. In early 2000  Ardel’s lawyers told the Land and Environment Court that there was no creek on the site just a drain. The following year their estate Agents were advertising the site as having a "natural bushland creek". During the year increasing concern was expressed at the dangers of the vertical walled Ardel Pond. Ducks and snakes died, because there was no way out. The same might happen to young children. Meetings were held and council are understood to be considering constructing an exit ramp at ratepayers expense.The pond is currently operated as a settling pond and it will be a number of years before there will be a wetland to reduce pollution of Manly Dam. Council has advised that it is not monitoring water quality below the site.There was lengthy debate on the naming of the road on the Ardel site but it was eventually named Madison Way.
On a number of occasions the committee reported problems and made enquiries about breaches of consent at the Ardel site. There was no satisfactory outcome.
Federal member Tony Abbott apologised publicly for failing to secure federal support for the Ardel buyback.
The committee made submissions to Warringah Council on the first few housing DA’s at the Ardel/Madison site late in  2001. Despite claims that this site would be treated sensitively, housing at the site was approved with environmental controls that are in a number of ways poorer than the rest of Warringah.
Housing construction has commenced on a number of sites.

During 2001/2002 the committee made submissions to:-
The Healthy Rivers Commission on coastal lakes
The Australian Heritage Commission on the boundaries of the proposed heritage area
The Warringah State of the Environment Report on loss of biodiversity, etc
The DLWC regarding the Spastic Centre and Sunnyfield land
Warringah Council on the heritage listing of McLeod House.

Our members assisted UTS staff and students again last year with their Aquatic Ecology projects. Their results showed high zinc levels and other water quality problems in the catchment.
Our members also worked with UNSW students on the Save the Galaxias project and Galaxias Action Plan.The report is now available. A Manly Dam Bibliography was prepared and has been published with the UTS reports as well as on our Save Manly Dam Web Site.

The committee has trained for and become a Streamwatch Team and currently tests the water quality in two feeder  creeks to the dam. If you are interested in joining the team please let us know.Water Licences

Wakehurst Golf Club has applied to the Department of Land and Water  Conservation for a licence for dams on creeks within the catchment and to pump water from the creeks and the main reservoir for irrigating their course.The  Committee has made submissions related to this to DLWC and we will be invited to participate in the hearings.Manly and Warringah Golf Clubs have discussed construction of a proposed new pipeline from Manly Dam along Manly Creek and across District Park, to supply water for irrigation of their courses. This has the potential to damage riparian vegetation including that at the Mermaid Pool.

Bush Regeneration
The last AGM was held soon after a major fire at Manly Dam. Following this,the committee organised a series of volunteer workdays. Work carried out was co-ordinated by council staff and included:-

spreading bush cuttings to reduce erosion, encourage seed drops and protect new growth;
closing tracks to allow recovery;
weed removal, plantings and mulching;
rubbish collection, etc.
Most areas have recovered well but weeds have spread alarmingly. We are  looking for volunteers to continue with bush regeneration work. Council funding for bush regeneration has been reduced and the committee has made enquiries about Green Corp assistance for this important work.

Web Site
The committee has re-established a web site at and hopes to maintain and improve this for community education purposes. It includes the Manly Dam Bibliography and information on the Climbing Galaxias, Red Crowned Toadlet, Duffys Forest Vegetation Community, Ardel and the Mermaid Pool.

Galaxias Study
We are fortunate that the Manly Dam catchment is home to a population of one of the most ancient of Australian freshwater native fish, the Climbing Galaxias (or Galaxias brevipinnis). It is one of the most northerly populations known and is believed to be the only population in the Sydney Metropolitan area. Unfortunately the population is small and it is considered to be vulnerable. It is of considerable interest to locals and to scientists and is also considered an indicator of the catchment’s well being.
The committee and students from UNSW have carried out a study of the Climbing Galaxias fish at Manly Dam and have published a report entitled "Manly Dam Galaxias Action Plan". It is hoped that this report will encourage further research into the Climbing Galaxias and facilitate efforts to protect it and its habitat.The report includes a brief summary of what is known of the fish, including the population in the Manly Dam catchment, plus a preliminary assessment of processes that threaten its existence and an interim action plan to enhance its survival chances.

Ken Higgs has prepared a 20 page list of references, containing information and data related to the Manly Dam Catchment, and it has been published by UTS and on our Web Site. It was originally prepared for the Committee but has been extended and published as a research aid to others studying the area. It includes references to historical, environmental and development issues. Many of the reports are held by either Warringah Council staff, Manly Dam Reserve staff, Manly Library, Warringah Library at Dee Why, the Water Reference Library at Manly Vale or the Save Manly Dam Catchment Committee. It is not claimed to be complete.

Sad Loss
Last November we unfortunately lost one of our keenest supporters, Sigrid Drinkrow. Many will remember her great photographs and long vigils at the Ardel Site protest. The committee has planted a scribbly gum at the Allambie Heights Lutheran Homes in her memory.

Thank you
We would like to thank all the Committee members for their hard and dedicated work over the last few years and for all others who attended meetings and wrote letters. Hopefully we can look forward to a better future for Manly Dam, now that it has so many supporters.

Edited by Ken Higgs, May 2002


Ced Johnston

(h) 9948 5688

Malcolm Fisher

(h) 9949 4258

Ken Higgs

(h) 9949 1241

Ann Sharp

(h) 9938 3459

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