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Deakin University

  • Project: Victorian Coastal Wetland Restoration Program: restoring wetlands of our past, for our future
  • Amount: $199,853 over three years
  • Year(s) Funded: 2021

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.

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“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

Program Snapshot

Restoration of an additional 30,000ha of coastal wetlands has the potential to

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    Enhance fish production by 1,920 tonnes

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    Increase carbon storage by 27,000 tonnes CO2 pa

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    Increase recreational benefit by $27.3m each year

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    Improve water quality, biodiversity and cultural benefits

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.

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.

bluecarbonlab.org

deakin.edu.au