The Victorian Coastal Wetland Restoration Program, funded by the Victorian Government, Deakin University and The Nature Conservancy, was a finalist in the 2021 SERA Awards for Ecological Restoration Excellence (Large Project).
This award given the Society for Ecological Restoration Australasia acknowledges individuals or organisations that have made a significant, enduring or internationally recognized contribution to the science and/or practice of ecological restoration through achieving high standards of practice at a site or the development of innovative new approaches, methods and/or strategies for involving the public in restoration efforts.
We have successfully restored 130ha of wetland habitat through the installation of over 1200m of fencing to prevent livestock from grazing on saltmarsh, and 100ha of weed management to improve waterbird habitat. Ongoing monitoring of the sites will measure long-term benefits to biodiversity and carbon. Secured an additional $150K for direct on-ground wetland restoration action.
We have surveyed over 500ha of wetland habitat for future restoration, including a 340ha industrial wasteland. Our project partners have worked to develop a hydrodynamic model for the site where we have tested different restoration scenarios and optimized for maximum biodiversity and carbon gains. We are currently preparing 8 high-impact research publications from the data collected at our restoration sites, which will support advancement in wetland restoration action. Secured additional $600,000 of funding, to continue high impact wetland restoration research and help upscale restoration efforts across the state and nationally.
We have formed a strong multi-sector partnership with 15+ project partners (academia, government, industry, Traditional Owners) to deliver on-ground restoration action for coastal ecosystems and raise awareness on their role as nature-based solutions and biodiversity hotspots. With 100+ social media posts, 75,000+ social media impressions, 25+ blog posts, 1 interactive StoryMap (2500+ views), the involvement of 40+ volunteers (700+hrs), and additional funding ($225K) to engage the Victorian Communities in citizen science workshops to monitor the restoration work.