STAR project focused on EP’s vulnerable saltmarshes
27 September 2019
Enormously undervalued and frequently overlooked Eyre Peninsula’s quite secretive Subtropical and Temperate Saltmarshes are set to benefit from a host of land care actions after the Eyre Peninsula Natural Resources Management Board receives $2,068,000 in funding over four years from the Australian Government’s Regional Land Partnership program.
The funding will be used to better understand hydrological flows (including projected sea-level rise) through monitoring and making improvements to some coastal infrastructure, undertaking actions to bolster shorebird recovery and public awareness, and where necessary implementing delicate revegetation operations aimed at improving the health and function of these ecologically and economically important wildlife-rich ecosystems.
Natural Resources Management Officer Liz McTaggart said she’s excited to be overseeing the project and looking forward to be working with community on this high priority nationally threatened ecological community.
“We are so lucky across EP with the range of vegetation communities we have here but many of these are in varying condition, particularly our saltmarsh environments. This project builds on the sound knowledge from our existing Coastal Action Planning and shorebird monitoring.
The funding will allow Natural Resources Staff to access independent research scientists and organisations to deliver actions to directly address many of the issues. In other areas we need to understand more deeply the complexity of what’s compounding and driving changes, so we’ll be busy with baseline surveys and utilising some of the latest technology, such as LIDAR to plan and prepare for retreat of species and sea level rise into the future,” Liz said.
Eyre Peninsula’s coastline spans 3,292km , with 16 coastal embayment’s; one third of South Australia’s intertidal samphire habitat including approximately 23% of the national distribution of Temperate Coastal Saltmarsh.
“The invite will be open to anyone on Eyre Peninsula, even visitors to our area, to join us in learning more about these saltmarsh systems, as this is not a project we are going to be able to achieve alone. We’ll be hosting saltmarsh identification workshops, shorebird workshops and investigating six overwintering hooded plover monitoring sites across the region. People can get involved through their schools, Councils though on ground projects such as new raingardens to improve hydrological flows in saltmarsh areas, becoming a skilled volunteer bird observer or simply following and sharing what we are doing online,” Liz said.
Eyre Peninsula Natural Resources Management Board Presiding Member Mark Whitfield said the Board is delighted to have received funding for this important initiative.
“This is a longer term investment into our natural resources which underpins our landscapes, lifestyles and livelihoods. As a Board we are always looking at ways to protect and enhance ecosystems that support thriving fish and invertebrate nursery grounds and improve conditions for our most threatened shorebird populations. There is much to learn in these saltmarshes, especially the contribution that they make to our overall community. I encourage you to get involved and support the NRM staff in the delivery of this important and exiting new project,” Mark said.
For further information, including collecting your free copy of the ‘Samphire’s of the Eyre Peninsula’ booklet call into your nearest Natural Resources Centre of Office, call us on 8688 3180 or visit www.landscape.sa.gov.au/ep/projects-and-partners/star-project
Communications and Engagement Officer