Maintaining its links with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the Foundation initiated a workshop in 2012 to review challenges and opportunities in temperate zone coastal estuaries. As a result TNC has proposed a Great Southern Seascapes program, with pilot projects in Victoria’s Corio Bay and Westernport Bay. The Foundation has granted $3m to these projects on the expectation that significant private and government funding support will be identified. The project will
- expand protection and restore critical habitat for clams, oysters and seagrass meadows in the selected pilot bays by 20%
- engage significant numbers of community volunteers, including recreational fishers and citizen science program
- develop good practice models for application in other places
- re-establish a network of southern marine scientists
In an Australian first, three sites have permit approvals to trial approaches for restoring shellfish reefs as part of a partnership between The Nature Conservancy, the Victorian Government and Albert Park Yachting and Angling Club. Currently, Wilson’s Spit and Margaret’s Reef are the first two sites with native oysters and mussels on the seabed.