Historically natural coastal wetlands were converted to pastureland to maximize available farming area along Victoria’s coast. However, these coastal pastures limited the lands profitability due to the difficult growing conditions, invasive weeds and waterlogged soils.
Our project intends to use low-cost fencing to restore marginal farmland back to coastal wetlands, where farmers end up with an environmental asset that benefits them and the wider community.
Restoring saltmarsh habitat not only helps increase the diversity of vegetation, but it also provides suitable habitat for many threatened and endangered fauna including the orange-bellied parrot, growling grass frog, resident and migratory shorebirds (listed as in fair condition with a declining trend in the 2016 State of the Bay report). A healthy functioning saltmarsh provides many other ecosystem services including storing carbon from the atmosphere, reducing nitrogen loads into the bay, protecting our coastlines and enhancing recreational fisheries.
With funding from the Port Phillip Bay Fund (PPBF), this project will deliver three citizen science workshops, where citizen scientists, in combination with remote sensing methods, will help to monitor a saltmarsh restoration project on the Ramsar listed wetlands of Swan Bay. The data collected at these workshops will help validate the remote sensing method to allow for low-cost long-term monitoring of saltmarsh which currently is lacking.
We are partnering with the Bellarine Catchment Network and the Bellarine Landcare Group (BLG) to engage the community and promote the benefits of coastal wetlands.
Keep an eye out on Blue Carbon Lab social media pages for the announcement of dates for the citizen science workshops if you are keen to get involved and get muddy!