Lake strictly for the birds
By SAMANTHA TURNBULL
THE Northern Rivers could soon have its own miniature inland archipelago.
Lismore City Council plans to build three islands in the middle of the Lismore Lake in an attempt to provide a haven for the hundreds of birds that flock to the area.
The proposal has been welcomed by well-known bird sanctuary campaigner Molly Crawford, 84, who visits the lake every Saturday morning.
She said this year's drier weather had forced her beloved Christ birds to fly away gradually in search of deeper water.
"They're a very tiny bird, an endangered species, and also known as the comb-crested jacana," she said.
"They like to walk on the lily pads, but when the water became too low they went away."
A second threatened species, the black-necked stork, has been also regularly recorded at the lake.
The council will lodge a development application this week to take advantage of the shallow water.
It plans to use an excavator to scoop piles of sand from the lake's floor into large mounds.
Council planner Alex Wilford said there was no threat of the islands washing away because the sand would be extremely compact.
He also said trees would be eventually planted on the islands to give the birds a safe place to nest.
Birdwatchers will be able to keep a lookout from an observation area to be built near the eastern bank of the lake.
Lismore mayor Merv King said the islands would not obstruct rowers.
"One island will be at the southern end of the lake, one near the north-western corner, and one near the western bank towards the middle of the lake," he said.
"These locations will ensure that a long, wide section of water is available for the potential future use of the Lismore Rowing Club."
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