It refers not only to the vital sunlight that waterways need for a healthy ecology, but also to the restoration of the riparian zone and to the attraction of local residents to their creek.
When we hear people say, "Such and such a creek used to flow through here," we might think, "Has all that water just disappeared?" But in most cases it has been piped under our roads or even under houses and other buildings. So stormwater is still being managed, but a huge opportunity has been lost, for an aquatic ecosystem and a place for people to enjoy this natural phenomenon.
Various cities around the world have begun digging up roadways and fill, to restore waterways. Vancouver has successfully restored several of its creeks including Spanish Banks, Musqueam, Hastings and Still Creek, and salmon has returned to spawn in three of those waterways. Seoul, South Korea, has restored a creek in the Cheonggyecheon area by removing an entire freeway and now has improved flood protection, biological diversity and even a rise in business activity.
Vancouver Public Space Network lists the benefits of creek daylighting as:
- "Storage and absorption of stormwater run-off over their vegetated and riparian surfaces to improve water quality and prevent stormwater surges
- Cooling the air to reduce the heat island effect
- Providing public places of respite, recreation and access to nature
- Improved aesthetics and neighbourhood beautification
- Increased wildlife habitat and biodiversity
- Opportunities for education about local history and ecology
- Opportunities for stewardship, a sense of pride, community spirit and connection"
Norman Creek and its tributaries have plenty of sections which have been piped underground, such as:
- Bridgewater Creek upstream of Bowie's Flat, to its source near Majestic Park
- Kingfisher Creek upstream of Moorhen Flats in Woolloongabba
- Little Swamp Creek upstream of the stormwater harvesting and reuse project
- Sandy Creek upstream of Sexton St (and back to its source)
- Mott Creek upstream of Mott Park, especially along Glindemann Drive
- Glindemann Creek upstream of Nursery Rd and also under Logan Rd
- Ekibin Creek upstream of the freeway and upstream of the Ekibin Creek bushcare site, to its source
Part of our vision for the catchment is to see at least some of these daylighted. Future redevelopment of structures that are currently on top of creeks may provide an opportunity to open them up again.
Australia is the driest inhabited continent on Earth, so why wouldn't we want to look at freshwater streams and creeks?