Blue Carbon ecosystem restoration on the Sunshine Coast has received a major boost thanks to a $2 million grant to support the Blue Heart project.
Sunshine Coast Council and its grant partners were successful in securing the funding through the Commonwealth government’s Blue Carbon Ecosystem Restoration Grants.
This is in addition to a further $1.5 million in in-kind contributions that is being provided by partners.
Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said the Blue Heart was one of five successful Blue Carbon restoration projects the Federal Government was supporting across Australia.
“Blue Carbon is carbon that is stored in marine and coastal ecosystems and includes carbon stored in the bodies of plants and animals as well as in debris and soil,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“Our Blue Heart will contribute to further progressing our collective understanding of Blue Carbon ecosystems and the benefits they provide to biodiversity, fishing, water quality, recreation and coastal protection.
“As Blue Carbon ‘farming’ is a potential economic opportunity for Blue Heart private landholders, the grant funding provides a timely opportunity to demonstrate Blue Carbon restoration and the associated benefits.”
The Blue Heart is an area of more than 5,000 hectares on a natural floodplain in the Maroochy River catchment and includes approximately 1,400 hectares of public land. This comprises council’s Coolum Creek Environment Reserve network, the Queensland Government’s Coolum Creek Conservation Park, and Unitywater’s Yandina Creek Wetland.
The Blue Heart provides flood storage for the Maroochy River Catchment and preserving flood storage within this area is critical to the ongoing flood management of the catchment and in particular the built environment.
This floodplain area is already impacted by tidal inundation and over time the area is expected to continue transitioning due to climate change and projected sea level rise.
This project seeks to manage the land and water through this transition to provide positive outcomes for our environment, community, and economy.
“The Blue Heart is another way council is planning and acting in response to climate change, Mayor Jamieson said.
Sunshine Coast Council Environment and Liveability Portfolio Councillor Maria Suarez said the funding was a great encouragement to the project and reinforced just how important the Blue Heart was to our region as one of our major green spaces.
“The project to restore Blue Carbon ecosystems on public land in the northern section of the Blue Heart will be implemented over the next four years (2022-2025) with a focus on restoring degraded or destroyed Blue Carbon ecosystems,” Cr Suarez said.
“Council plans to do this by implementing various ecosystem restoration activities, including introducing tidal waters onto selected public lands and working with nature as it transitions from former cane lands to Blue Carbon ecosystems.
“We’ll now be able to implement this across a larger space due to our most recent Blue Heart land acquisition along River Road, Maroochy River, extending council’s conservation footprint across the Sunshine Coast.”
For more information and updates on Blue Heart Sunshine Coast, visit sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/blueheart.