Last week, the BCL team had engaging discussions with Beach Energy employees about the importance of coastal wetlands and blue carbon for climate change mitigation, and about how our new project, #ReGenOurCoasts, can help in restoration efforts.
About 20 people from the team at Beach Energy participated from all over Australia in a Lunch & Learn session hosted by our scientists Dr Stacey Trevathan-Tackett and Dr Maria del Mar Palacios. This session was a fun and exciting way to start our partnership with Beach Energy and focused on the great importance of coastal wetlands. It outlined how the Regenerating Our Coasts program and partnership will pave the way towards changes in how we approach restoration of wetland ecosystems.
The #ReGenOurCoasts involves identifying areas where coastal wetlands should be present but are not, assessing the reason for the degradation and deploying 3D biodegradable, lattice structures. Based on previous studies, we will target areas where it is believed the reason for degradation or lack of growth is due to high disturbances of the sediment, thereby preventing the plants from establishing roots.
Very few studies using these structures have been carried out in Australia, and Beach Energy employees were interested to learn more about the potential of deploying the structures to different ecosystems. As Dr Stacey Trevathan-Tackett pointed out, we will initially be focusing on applying the structures in mangrove and saltmarsh ecosystems, but will be exploring opportunities for the structures to be used in seagrass restoration efforts. We discussed how the biodegradable structures complement other methods of restoration in coastal wetlands. A key feature of the structures was being degradable, thereby only lasting long enough to support the regrowth of the wetlands species and soon becoming part of the ecosystem. Next steps for the program are identifying sites to trial this type of restoration and meeting with stakeholders, while getting the structures ready for deployment.
Stay tuned at our blog and socials for more updates about #ReGenOurCoasts!