The Nature Conservancy Australia (TNC) is excited to begin the restoration of oyster ecosystems at Tewantin, Goat Island and lower Weyba Creek in the Noosa River lower estuary.
TNC’s Managing Director Alison Rowe said the start of the Noosa oyster ecosystem restoration project was the result of months of collaboration with TNC’s partners and the Noosa community. “It is an exciting milestone for the project and the health of the Noosa estuary. We are delighted to work with members of the Noosa community on restoring shellfish ecosystems. We thank our partners, in particular The Thomas Foundation, for their support from the very early stages of the project,” said Ms Rowe.
The restored oyster ecosystems add habitat complexity to the river and will provide a boost for the local estuarine environment as well as employment, tourism and recreational opportunities.
Shellfish reefs are part of southern Queensland’s natural heritage, providing homes, feeding and nursery grounds to hundreds of marine species.
Noosa is one of 13 sites identified for shellfish reef restoration under the Australian Government-funded Reef Builder initiative. A partnership between the Australian Government and TNC Australia, Reef Builder aims at bringing shellfish reefs back from the brink of extinction and supporting the economic recovery of communities impacted by bushfires and COVID-19.
Noosa Shire Council is a key partner in this project. Noosa Shire Council’s Deputy Mayor Cr Frank Wilkie said oyster reef restoration was a responsible, science-backed investment in the Noosa River.
“This partnership is a great opportunity to improve the health of this much-loved natural asset and this project puts Noosa at the forefront of oyster reef restoration in Queensland,” Cr Wilkie said.
“We are starting to lay the reef foundation, which is made from locally-sourced igneous rock. This process will take several weeks,” TNC’s Oceans Manager, Queensland, Craig Bohm said.
“The reef base will then be seeded in spring with juvenile rock oysters that have settled onto recycled oyster shells, raised in Queensland Government’s Aquaculture Facility on Bribie Island,” Mr Bohm said.
The Noosa Parks Association (NPA) provided the initial impetus for oyster reef restoration in the Noosa estuary.
NPA’s Michael Gloster said that improving the health of the river through the restoration of oyster ecosystems has been a long-time ambition. “It’s great to see restoration of the ecosystems underway in our river. Oysters are excellent water filterers, with one oyster filtering up to 100 litres of water a day. This project is an important step forward in improving the health of our Noosa River Estuary”
The Noosa Oyster Ecosystem Restoration Project is a partnership between TNC Australia, the Noosa Shire Council, the Australian Government, The Thomas Foundation, the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS).
If you would like to know more about shellfish restoration, please visit natureaustralia.org.au/noosa
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organisation dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we focus on getting things done efficiently and with the greatest positive impact for conservation. We’re a trusted organisation working in more than 70 countries and territories around the world on innovative solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. To learn more about The Nature Conservancy in Australia, follow us on Facebook.