225 hectares of Ecological Reserve

Local seed collection and onsite propagation established millions of plants. The green roof’s 25 species required significant research to establish a local palette suitable for predicted future conditions. It has purpose-designed lightweight high water retention planting media and integrated growth support systems. The Reserve uses only on-site water capture. Traditional Owner cultural values informed design.

Amenity includes 8km of pedestrian, cyclist and equestrian trails, wayfinding, interpretation, boardwalks, bird hide, viewing decks and picnic shelters.
The project has returned local fauna, including endangered species and internationally significant migratory birds. It has advanced green roof design. A mandated 18 year review ensures ecological values are maintained into the future.

The Victorian Desalination Project and Ecological Reserve is critical infrastructure for climate adaption and one of the largest such investments in Australia’s history. The 225 ha Ecological Reserve camouflages the Plant through a 26000m2 green roof and a dune system evolved from spoil, transforms degraded land into mosaics of coastal and swampy woodlands, wetlands and dune ecologies, reconnects remnants and provides rich visitor experience.

Landscape architects led the site plan to ensure an ecologically resilient landscape. Their 3D site master-model allowed cross disciplinary testing to create outcomes not otherwise possible in a project of this complexity. Such leadership proves new roles for the profession.

Thiess Degrémont / Parsons Brinckerhoff / Beca Joint Venture


Design and Construction Documentation


Wonthaggi, Victoria, Australia


ASPECT Studios, Practical Ecology with peckvonhartel, ARM architects and Fytogreen



Photo Credit

John Gollings, Peter Bennetts