The Coastal Victorian Wetland Restoration Program has officially wrapped up the first year of work!
In June 2019, members from the Blue Carbon Lab (BCL) traveled to Gippsland Lakes and Bass River for the first fieldwork trip for the project. BCL is working with Greening Australia down in Gippsland on private land next to Lake Wellington to restore waterflow to a degraded wetland.
In Bass, near the mouth of the Bass River, the team is working with Parks Victoria to install fencing on private land to prevent cattle from grazing on the saltmarsh. During the initial fieldwork the team setup permanent sampling plots to monitor the changes to vegetation, bird biodiversity, soil carbon stocks, and greenhouse gas fluxes. Over the coming two years the BCL team will head back to the site every 3-months to repeat the data collection.
BCL scientists headed to Avalon Coastal Reserve with UNSW Water Research Lab (UNSW WRL) in early August 2019, to complete some initial monitoring and evaluation of the site. Avalon Coastal Reserve is a former saltworks that is currently managed by Parks Victoria. BCL and UNSW WRL are developing a Restoration Action Plan for Avalon Coastal Reserve that models the current hydrologic regime and will present various restoration scenarios which reduce the need for pumping water and improve natural connectivity and drainage in order to maximize habitat for bird biodiversity and saltmarsh (Blue Carbon). During the week long field campaign the team setup permanent sampling plots to collect baseline data over the coming two years including site elevation, water flow, salinity, vegetation, bird biodiversity, organic matter accumulation, soil carbon stocks, and greenhouse gas fluxes. This data collected will be used in the hydrodynamic model to inform the various restoration scenarios.
At nearby Point Lillias, BCL is working with Waddawurrung, Wathaurung Aboriginal Corporation, Coastcare Victoria, Heritage Insight and Parks Victoria to perform remedial work on 16 sites of important cultural heritage that will protect and rehabilitate these sites from various threats, while simultaneously providing biodiversity and cultural benefits. This year the team completed a detailed Traditional Owner Engagement and Participation Plan (TOEPP) and had two On Country visits to determine suitable management options for the site, with on-ground works commencing in early 2020.
The Coastal Victorian Wetland Restoration Program has been funded by the Victorian Government’s Biodiversity Response Planning program and is helping to ensure that Victoria’s natural environment is healthy, valued and actively cared for. The Nature Conservancy provided partial funding support for the project which included a contribution from Dow Australia. Partial funding support for the project was also provided by Deakin University.