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Case Study: Deakin University

ProjectVictorian Coastal Wetland Restoration Program: restoring wetlands of our past, for our future

Amount$199,853 over three years

Date2021

ProgramEnvironment

TRUST OBJECTIVES PROJECT OBJECTIVES
Rural and regional Victoria Building and strengthening the capacity of regional land managers through hands-on restoration workshops.
Reducing inequality Engaging Traditional Owner groups to incorporate their cultural knowledge of coastal wetland management into the restoration decision framework and valuation of co-benefits of these ecosystems.
Enabling financial sustainability Developing financial impetus mechanisms to encourage private landholders to protect and restore the natural assets (saltmarsh) of their properties to ensure long term protection.
Building organisational capacity Immersive workshops will build the capacity of land managers, natural resource managers and traditional owners to enable long term support of upscaled saltmarsh restoration across the Victorian coast.
Collaboration and partnership Five Traditional Owner groups, Catchment Management Authorities, Parks Victoria, and Greening Australia.

Restoring threatened ecosystems through large-scale restoration

Vegetated coastal wetlands are among the most carbon rich sinks on the planet, and play an important role in climate regulation, sequestering as much carbon, if not more, as global forest ecosystems. Deakin University's Blue Carbon Lab will use low-cost methods to upscale wetland restoration along the Victorian coast, doubling the total area of saltmarsh, while demonstrating strategic restoration practices which will contribute to a whole of system approach.

Image Fencing off farmland is a low cost method of wetland restoration. Photo: courtesy Deakin University

Victorian coastal wetlands have seen a loss of 9,000ha, or roughly 25% of their pre-European extent. The disturbance to these ecosystems has had drastic negative impacts on Victoria’s biodiversity, particularly for resident and migratory birds.

Snapshot:

  • An earlier Government-funded pilot provided clear evidence that fencing off coastal farmland is a low-cost method to achieving saltmarsh restoration in areas that are currently being used for livestock grazing, and that concentrated weed management improves water bird habitat.
  • Blue Carbon Lab will develop a land-use model to produce spatial heatmaps to determine suitable fencing areas along the Victorian coast.
  • In collaboration with Catchment Management Authorities and Traditional Owner groups, restoration decision frameworks will be developed to help land-managers plan and implement restoration works.
  • 100+ land managers from across coastal Victoria will build their capacity and capability through attending multiple demonstration workshops.
  • The feasibility of financial impetus mechanisms (such as biodiversity or carbon credits) for landowners will be investigated to encourage restoration works on private land.
  • Restoration of an additional 30,000ha of coastal wetlands has the potential to:
    • Enhance fish production by 1,920 tonnes;
    • Increase carbon storage by 27,000 tonnes C02 pa;
    • Increase recreational benefit by $27.3m each year; and
    • Improve water quality, biodiversity and cultural benefits.

bluecarbonlab.org

deakin.edu.au

"This project is timely, given that the UN has declared 2021-2030 the decade of ecosystem restoration." - Chris Cumming, CEO, Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority