Restoring Gulf St Vincent’s Reefs: Building a blue infrastructure economy

Ms Anita Nedosyko1, Dr Chris Gillies1, Mr Simon Branigan1, Dr  Simon Reeves1, Mr Alex Hams1

1The Nature Conservancy, Carlton, Melbourne, Australia

The Gulf St Vincent’s health and economic benefits depends on functioning and resilient ocean and coastal ecosystems. But these marine ecosystems and resources   are threatened by habitat loss, climate change, fishing and nutrient imbalance. Our marine resources must be protected so that they can continue to provide the resources we depend on well into the future. In 2015, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), South Australian Government, Yorke Peninsula Council, Commonwealth Government and the Australian philanthropic community invested $4.2 million to establish Australia’s largest oyster reef restoration project, the Windara Reef, in Gulf St Vincent. This initial investment has demonstrated the many benefits of investing in blue infrastructure including attracting $990,000 Commonwealth Government investment through Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development. We have demonstrated through Windara Reef, and over fifteen years of restoring marine habitats around the world, that these reefs and their many social, economic and environmental benefits can be restored. South Australia has an opportunity to lead the nation by committing to the first state-wide plan to restore shellfish reefs, marking the start of a successful effort to capture a larger share of the estimated $100 billion national blue economy by 2025.

In this presentation we describe the experience gained and lessons learnt from implementing Windara Reef. We also highlight how investing in blue infrastructure (particularly restoring oyster reefs) provides a suite of co-benefits for communities and the environment and provides other groups access to new sources of funding.


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