Seeds for Snapper – Supporting seagrass restoration
What treasures do you look for when walking on our local beaches? A brightly coloured shell that’s perfectly formed, a crab stranded from the rockpool hastily making its way back to safety or maybe an unknown creature from the deep?
By Caroline Taylor, Landscapes Hills and FleurieuCoast & Marine Project officer
This summer I’ll be joining those out on the water or getting sand between their toes on our local southern ocean beaches to find some special seedlings that only arrive on our shores for a few weeks. Tape weed (or Poisidonia) seagrass fruits are released sometime between mid-December to January by local seagrass populations that form slicks on the surface of the water and drift ashore on incoming tides.
Working with OzFish, Australia’s only fishing conservation charity, as well as seagrass scientists, local councils and most importantly the beach and fishing communities, Landscapes Hills and Fleurieu will be restoring our local seagrass meadows one sand bag at a time.
Learning from seagrass restoration projects on the Adelaide metro coast, we are bringing Seeds for Snapper - Seagrass restoration project to Encounter Bay on the Fleurieu Coast. Using simple sand bag deployment off the side of boats, bags sewn with seagrass seeds that have collected by volunteers will be cast overboard in selected locations within Encounter Bay.
As well as providing an important habitat for a range of marine species and nursery grounds for snapper, calamari, whiting and blue swimmer crabs, seagrasses help to stabilise sand and sediment on the ocean floor, helping to protect Australia’s shorelines from erosion and storms.
They also store carbon and nutrients, which helps to improve water quality and clarity – a hectare of seagrass stores 35 times more carbon than a hectare of rainforest.
The simple act of walking the local beach, taking the paddleboard, kayak or boat out for the day and collecting some seagrass seed, may just be the easiest way that you can help restore our local seagrass meadows for the future.
If you are interested in being involved you can register at https://bit.ly/3AihiAf
This project is supported by the Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board, Ozfish, City of Victor Harbor, Yankalilla and Alexandrina Councils, with funding from the South Australian Government’s Landscape Priorities Fund and Boating Camping Fishing (BCF).