CMERC & Ridge to Reef Restoration Alliance

Seagrass essential Ingredient in Ridge to Reef Restoration Alliance

Ecosure is leading the Ridge to Reef Restoration Alliance, an alliance between ecosystem restoration experts. The alliance uses an integrated ecosystem restoration approach that focuses on protecting cultural values, capacity building and ecological restoration across terrestrial, coastal and marine ecosystems.

 Through this approach we partner with Traditional Owners and co-design project outcomes to achieve aspirations for their Land and Sea Country and their People. Working together, along with other Subject Matter Experts and regional stakeholders, we seek to create healthy ecosystems through active terrestrial, mangrove, seagrass, and reef restoration that integrates Traditional Knowledge.

An important part of Ridge to Reef restoration is understanding and improving the health of seagrass ecosystems for the role they play in the broader catchment, the ecosystem services they provide in filtering water off the land and providing nurseries for juvenile fish, and their cultural significance for First Nations peoples connecting Land and Sea Country. Land based restoration supports the recovery of seagrass by preventing pollution and sediment being deposited onto seagrass meadows, and direct seagrass restoration is a field that is growing with a positive outlook.

Ecosure’s Diane Lanyon, Erin Marsh and Sheridan Lawton had the opportunity to visit one of our key partners in the Ridge to Reef Alliance to learn more about their facility, their seagrass research and restoration trials they are currently undertaking. CQ University with the Director of Coastal Marine Ecosystem Research Centre (CMERC), Dr. Emma Jackson has been instrumental in setting up the first and largest seagrass restoration facility in Queensland, located at CMERC in Gladstone. Emma and her team are doing cutting-edge research into restoration of seagrass and are ensuring there is practical on ground application of their learnings. This is key to the success of ecosystem restoration as a whole and ensuring the science can be applied in the field in an easy and practical way.

Some of CMERC’s seagrass restoration projects involve collaborating with community, Traditional Owner groups, government and non-government organisations, including:

  • seagrass surveys, restoration planning and Traditional Owner capacity building for the Koinmerburra Ridge to Reef Restoration Project at Clairview and Wild Duck Island in collaboration with the Ridge to Reef Alliance and Koinmerburra Aboriginal Corporation
  • an assessment of Whitsunday seagrass meadows, their connectivity, present distribution and suitability of habitat to guide restoration activities.
  • collecting seagrass with communities seeds for use in seagrass restoration programs
  • research into how seagrass can be restored and grown in regions of extreme conditions

‘CMERC are finding innovative solutions to successful seagrass restoration at both small and large scales from seed collection, seed storage, seagrass propagation and planting techniques. Plenty of work is going into solving problems and understanding seasonal, climatic and other external factors that influence the success of restoration efforts. Seagrass restoration supports our important seagrass meadows to keep doing what they do best, which is enhancing marine biodiversity, improving water quality and sequestering carbon for healthy ecosystems.’ Erin Marsh, Project Coordinator

Working with CQ University and the CMERC team as part of the Ridge to Reef Alliance is a key component of our holistic Ridge to Reef Restoration projects. The integration of seagrass into catchment scale restoration and planning for ongoing management is critical for whole-of-system health and provides a important opportunities to build capacity of Traditional Owners to look after Country. With the value of healthy seagrass ecosystems, the benefits they provide, and the opportunities that come along with restoration action for communities, Traditional Owners, science and our environment, it is easy to see why seagrass is at the forefront of the restoration agenda locally and worldwide. 

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