This projects builds on an existing Australian Government funded project which is restoring a stranded area of temperate saltmarsh community in Pitt Water Orielton Lagoon to restore and improve fish habitat.
The Blue Carbon Ecosystem Restoration project will assist in understanding the diverse benefits of restoring a large area of stranded temperate saltmarsh community, including what happens to adjacent areas of habitat such as seagrass, or surrounding land-based vegetation and ecological communities.
PROJECT PILLARS BLUE CARBON
Blue carbon is the carbon stored in coastal and marine ecosystems. Coastal ecosystems are very productive and provide essential ecosystem services, such as coastal protection from storms and nursery grounds for fish. Coastal ecosystems also take up and store carbon from the atmosphere and the oceans, with much of the carbon being stored in sediments beneath coastal vegetation communities.
Through the process of restoring these communities, we are aiming to improve this ecosystem’s capacity to sequester carbon and also improve habitat to make the coastline more resilient to natural events. We will be working across 65 ha of temperate saltmarsh community, plus revegetating and remediating area on the surrounding land.
As a demonstration project, we’re aiming to learn about how restoration efforts impact on the ability of the saltmarsh to capture and store carbon as well as understand the diverse environmental and social benefits of blue carbon ecosystem restoration.
This project leverages existing funding, data collection, and restoration works from the Saltmarsh Restoration in Pitt Water-Orielton Lagoon project. It allows NRM South to expand the breadth and timeframe of restoration and monitoring at this important site.
Baseline Data Collection
We have partnered with the University of Tasmania to conduct baseline environmental monitoring at the site.
Prior to the removal of the bund, and using established monitoring regime methodology, baseline data will be collected for:
- Flora and vegetation, including seagrass
- Fauna (birds, fish, invertebrates, and browsers)
- Hydrology and water level
- Water quality
- Microclimate (temperature, light, relative humidity)
Sections of saltmarsh have become stranded from tidal inundation, altering the connectivity of fish habitat and exposing waterways to increased nutrient inputs. In summer 2023-23, a bund will be removed at the project site to restore natural hydrology to 65 ha of saltmarsh wetland.
Prior to bund removal, a hydrological assessment of the project site will be completed by Blue Carbon Services, with information gathered to support the project’s potential registration under the Emissions Reduction Fund’s Tidal restoration of blue carbon ecosystems method.
African boxthorn (Lycium ferocissimum) and serrated tussock (Nassella trichotoma) are present at the project site. Both are Weeds of National Significance, and threaten the condition of the wetland.
NRM South will engage a contractor to remove African boxthorn by ‘cut and paint’, and spray serrated tussock where present across the site.
Elevated grassy areas adjacent to the saltmarsh will be revegetated with native woody plants and grasses. Revegetation will restore the microclimate and consequently promote natural regrowth of saltmarsh vegetation species.
Access to the restored wetland and revegetated fringing habitat will be controlled through up to 2 km of fencing, which permanently excludes stock, to protect important saltmarsh vegetation communities and Aboriginal cultural heritage from trampling.
Achievements to Date
- Site information, in the form of aerial mapping and spatial imagery, has been collected by Esk Mapping to inform project planning and site management. This includes mapping of key vegetation communities and weed species by North Barker Ecosystem Services.
- Contracts established with Blue Carbon Services for hydrological assessment, and the University of Tasmania for baseline environmental monitoring.
This project is in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
27 July, 2022 2 Min Read
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