The 60 hectare man-made lake was created over former salt evaporation ponds, and has been constructed (and continues to be managed) to serve as a storm water retarding basin.
The lake acts as a filtering system for all storm water runoff from a large percentage of lots and roads within Sanctuary Lakes Resort and water quality management facility for anything entering the downstream wetlands and Port Phillip Bay. To maintain the water level and salinity of the lake, make-up salt water is pumped in from the Skeleton Creek estuary.
As well as providing an aesthetically appealing environment to residents, the lake is also home to a healthy and diverse ecosystem. To keep the lake healthy, a Lake Management Plan was jointly developed by environmental consultants, Melbourne Water and other stakeholders. In addition to this, the lake is independently tested inspected and water tested regularly. The lake is maintained by the SLRS Resort Maintenance staff.
The lake is home to a wide range of fish, including Black Brim, Mullet and Eels. Fishing is permitted from most walkways and bridges within Sanctuary Lakes Resort. All people fishing in the lake require a current Victorian Recreational Fishing licence unless they are under 18 or over 70 years of age, and all fish caught should conform with the requirements of holding a fishing licence. Fishing from privately owned lots and the canal is not permitted. Fishing lines must not be left unattended at any time.
As the lake hosts a diverse ecosystem, the maintenance schedule operates in a way that allows staff to address the varying requirements of the lake which can change from day to day. Sea grass plays a vital role in the overall health of the lake.
SLRS Resort Maintenance staff use three vessels that assist them in harvesting sea grass as part of the Lake Management Plan. These vessels are:
- A paddle wheel harvester that cuts seagrass in the deeper and more open areas of the lake, named The M.V. Garry Sleeman
- Two truxors, amphibious vessels that operate in shallow areas and at the edges of the lake. The truxors are used to collect cut sea grass and floating debris.
- A barge which is a supporting vessel to the harvester and truxors that receives harvested sea grass and other materials and transports them to the tip via a garbage compactor.
Residents can also help keep the lake healthy in the following ways:
- By not introducing contaminants into the lake
- By taking their rubbish home with them when visiting recreation areas within the resort if bins are full to prevent litter entering waterways or the lake itself
- By not raking up sea grass and storing it on the wall (for properties adjacent to the lake)